Breaking Bread with the Dead
Scripture tells us that we are “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses” from the past—but sometimes those witnesses can look pretty cloudy. Especially in our current moment, with its emphasis on exposing the sins of the past, we may be embarrassed by the flaws and shortcomings of our predecessors in the faith. (Or feel that we ought to be.) But they were neither more nor less flawed than we are—and we need them to tell us things about the Christian life that we would find difficult to learn from our contemporaries. We need to learn how to do what the poet W. H. Auden called “breaking bread with the dead”—table fellowship with our ancestors.