Liturgical Year · Living Faith

Bread of Affliction

Observe the month of Abib by keeping the Passover of the Lord, your God, since it was in the month of Abib that the Lord, your God, brought you out of Egypt by night. You shall offer the Passover sacrifice from your flock and your herd to the Lord, your God, in the place the Lord will choose as the dwelling place of his name. You shall not eat leavened bread with it. For seven days you shall eat with it only unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, so that you may remember as long as you live the day you left the land of Egypt; for in hurried flight you left the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 16:1-3

On this day when we remember the Last Supper, the first celebration of Eucharist, we honor and adore the miracle wherein Jesus made our simple gifts into his glorious body.

But it can be easy to forget just what sort of bread he lifted, blessed, broke, and shared. The Bread of Affliction. The Bread of Captivity.

This Passover bread is bread eaten by captives fleeing, by slaves preparing for escape. The Passover when the Israelites were saved from death and led to freedom has become our Passover when we too are saved from death and led to freedom.

The Eucharist, the Bread of Angels, the Bread of Affliction. Eat this bread, “the bread of affliction, so that you may remember as long as you live the day you left the land of Egypt; for in hurried flight you left the land of Egypt.”

We are fugitives, escaping the reign of sin and death. Under the cover of night we are led by the Light of the Nations. We follow in the darkness of faith, sustained by the Bread of Affliction. It is our sustenance, what keeps us going until we are safe in the land of Promise. “Do this in remembrance of me.” Remember the day you left the land of Egypt, the land of captivity. Remember the day you were freed. Remember who gave you freedom. Give thanks.

It is the Bread of Thanksgiving, and the Bread of Remembrance. We have escaped and yet we are still escaping the land where we were held captive, the land where we were enslaved. Tonight, as we eat the Bread of Affliction, we remember and give thanks because we truly have been set free from our captors, rescued in the dark of night, and saved for a glorious new day.

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