The Body of Christ

“During a summer stint at a tiny church in Scotland, I had a visit from the pastor of the church in the next village who told me a communion story I will never forget.

He was an infantryman in the British army in World War II and ended up in a prisoner-of-war camp in Poland. The conditions were dreadful. There was no heat, and prisoners were given a single bowl of thin soup and a small crust of bread daily. Men were starving, sick, filthy and desperate. Suicide was a very real option. All one had to do was run toward the perimeter of the camp and leap against the barbed wire fence. Guards would immediately shoot and kill anyone trying to escape.

In the middle of the night he walked to the perimeter and sat down beside the fence to think about going through with it. He heard movement in the darkness from the other side of the fence. It was a Polish farmer. The man thrust his hand through the barbed wire and handed my friend half of a potato. In heavily accented English he said, ‘The Body of Christ.’”

                                                                                — John M. Buchanan