As I presided at the Eucharist last Sunday and divided the bread, I was acutely aware of holding two pieces in my hand as I spoke the words "We break this bread to share in the Body of Christ." Those who were present boldly proclaimed: "Though we are many we are one body because we all share in one bread."
That image is strong in my mind today as I hear the news of the outcome of the EU referendum. I am actually many miles away in Tanzania experiencing yet more of what it means to be part of the Body of Christ. I am here celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Western Tanganyika and today 30 bishops from all over Tanzania and Burundi have each been opening a new church somewhere in this diocese. The UK feels a long way away and yet I am aware that today people will be experiencing many different thoughts and emotions. There will be those who are rejoicing and even experiencing a sense of excitement; others will be devastated and even fearful; and no doubt some are just feeling bewildered.
Today in a church in Tanzania I have experienced much dancing and singing by people who are financially poor but rich in hope; and my prayer in these days following the EU referendum is that followers of Christ will be bearers of hope in the communities where we live and work. May we remember the breaking of bread which is a brokenness of self-giving and healing, not a brokenness of disunity and conflict.
As followers of Christ with many differences, might we be intentional about finding ways to bear witness to what it means to share in one bread. As we are 'sent out' among the people and places of our week, may God break any hardness of heart or arrogance of mind. May we be people of hope who share ourselves in ways which heal division and unite people in their common humanity:
May we who share Christ's body live his risen life,
We who drink his cup bring life to others
We whom the Spirt lights give light to the world
Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us….