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A Piece of My Mind
August 7, 2018

This Is My Body

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester
JAMA. 2018;320(5):441-442. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.10452

I grew up in a church: one of those New England Protestant churches with white clapboard siding and a rainbow flag. It is a place of comfort, a hug realized in the shape of four walls, with hand-stitched tapestries, a choir singing slightly off key, and sunny old church ladies who call me kind and brilliant.

This is the type of church where, during monthly communion, the body and blood of Christ are slightly stale supermarket bread and Welch’s grape juice, shared with a mind paid to the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings held downstairs five evenings each week. Communion Sundays are rowdy, with children packed into pews alongside their parents as opposed to their usual state of being tucked away in their Sunday school classrooms. Soon, trays will be passed along the aisles, hands filling with small chunks of bread held expectantly until everyone has been served. On cue, the potential energy becomes kinetic as the movement of hands lifting to mouths ripples throughout the sanctuary.