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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Breaking the Bread of Belief: Feast

jenmichel@me.com

I drive - and find epiphany. Epiphany is, of course, a sudden and surprising bolt of illumination. Sudden and surprising are fitting words for describing Toronto’s skyline, especially when viewing it from the Don Valley Parkway.

Recently, I am on the Eastern side of the city, traveling the DVP, which, true to its name, descends and climbs out of the Don River Valley. I’m heading south, descending into the valley and hugging the curves of the valley, and then I begin to climb. I make the curve.

Unannounced, Toronto, architecturally soaring above the treeline, blazes its hello.

Every time, I catch that view, I catch my breath and feel strangely proud of this skyline, this city where I live. Yes, I’m a stranger here, and strangely impermanent. But I feel, unexpectedly, unwittingly, the tenacity of my belonging to Toronto and its belonging to me. And belonging feels a lot like love, because Toronto, stretched across the horizon, stirs me to pray.

I surrender myself to whatever you choose to give.

This is a version of the prayer I pray in the ultrasound appointment when, nearly seven years ago, I learn I am unexpectedly carrying twins. This is the prayer that has sustained a long season of waiting - hidden years when it has seemed most necessary to me to give my fullest attention to my family and lay aside desires for other kinds of ministry. I have loved those years. I have been grateful for what they have done in me.

But that intense season of mothering is giving way, and while I still feel actively involved in the lives of my children, I am finding time for this new calling to write.

This brings me to the fourth word in my “Breaking the Break of Belief” series.

Feast.

First, beginning. This word reminds me of the purposeful architecture of my story – and yours. In him, we live and move and have our being, wrote the Apostle Paul.

Second, dust. This word situates me in the story. I am human. Frail. Small.

Third, home. This word orients me toward the ache of homecoming – and eternal hope.

And now, for the fourth word.

Feast.

Feast

(Image courtesy of Joetography)

I love to eat. And can think of almost nothing better than my family and friends gathered around a table, where the hour and love grow long and we discover, in the plenty of food and conversation, the deep satisfaction of our pulsing, aching desire to know and be known.

Feast.

Genesis opens with a feast. God spreads a table for his first guests, Adam and Eve, with the plenty of the garden and the cool night conversation they share.

Revelation ends with a feast, where the conversation around the table rises to a roar of praise.

“Hallelujah! . . . for the marriage of the Lamb has come.”

Feast. It’s a picture of the consummation of faith and of the plenty those will enjoy whose appetite has been for the unseen.

Heaven is this: a feast, where, at the end of the table, Jesus will stand, bruised and beautiful for us, and raise his glass, toasting His Father and the finished plan of redemption.

Feast.

It's a word of looking forward, a word to galvanize the courage of whatever surrender today asks of us - Father, whatever you give, we choose to embrace.

Feast. Nothing we give up or lose in this life will compare to the plenty prepared for us.