The Lord’s Supper

Over the last 13 years I have been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for all kinds of reasons. What often helped get me better was the consistency of hospital. I could always count on supper in the evening.

Supper usually occurs at around 8pm. The NHS has little funds or staff at this time so we are usually invited to the dining room for jam on toast.Usually this will be strawberry jam, marmalade, blackcurrant etc. Sometimes Marmite lovers would be lucky too.The unlucky just butter.

Sometimes like in my last admission we weren’t allowed to use knifes. Even though the knifes could be plastic, we were made to use plastic spoons. Over the years I have become skilled in using a spoon like a knife. How to cut or spread becomes interesting. Do you use the handle?

Last year when I was homeless in hospital for 4 and half months. I spent much of my time reading the Bible. It was a tough existence but the Lord gave me strength. I soon began to see my strawberry jam and toast as a sacrament in memory of Christ.

Much like the Lord’s Supper (known as communion) I perceived in faith the bread as the body of Christ and the strawberry jam as the blood of Christ. I wouldn’t pray in front of the staff incase they saw it as a symptom but I often spoke to Christ in my cognitions.

Once I was discharged I joined a Church and was pleased to do the Lord’s Supper on a Sunday (now it’s regular for me). However, quite often the ritual of Jam and toast with a prayer continues at home. Sometimes with only the Lord’s Prayer. Though I do it verbally in private.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

The Lord’s Prayer

When I had an episode of psychosis recently, it became a nightly ritual of coping.I was soon hospitalised again and was thankful to continue every evening the ritual.Though once again I didn’t verbalise my prayer.Sometimes like tonight I’m not hungry but I do it because it helps.

Additional Comment

If I want to be mindful and perhaps want some symmetry I will cut the bread into 4 slices. So in essence I make a cross ✝️. It’s not important or significant but more like part of a meditation.

I’m digressing but little mindful thoughts I would have at the time in hospital were each slice was like the shield of faith. 3 slices represent the trinity and 1 me.A useful way to ground myself to my faith. Though once the bread was eaten I must move on. I briefly blogged about the Shield of Faith here.

To add one final aspect to this experience of mindfulness or contemplative prayer. I would finish my meal and look around and see other people eating the bread broken from the same loaf of bread as mine.Even though I hadn’t always talked to these people I shared a meal with them.