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THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 2011, 8:03 A.M.

Breaking bread, transcending death

Photo for EndNotes blog.
Photo for EndNotes blog.

Today, Holy Thursday, we observe the Last Supper, the meal Jesus shared with his friends. He broke the bread and shared it. Scripture reminds us that we will "find Him in the breaking of the bread."

 My most profound experience of the risen Christ in the breaking of the bread happened not at church, but at Tampa International Airport. My father was dying and I was escorting him on his journey home.

On a sunny Sunday morning, a limousine took us on dad's last ride to an airport. The driver, not knowing dad's health status, asked if he could say a prayer before we left  the driveway. He likes to do that, he told us. Of course.

As we waited at the gate to board the plane, I asked dad if he wanted to share a sandwich. I broke the Subway turkey sandwich in half and at that moment, a song from the 1960s played overhead with lyrics taken from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes: “To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season…and a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to be born, a time to die.” My dad's time under heaven was ending; his life had been filled with purpose.

 As the bread broke, my heart broke, too, for the separation between us that was to come. And still a powerful presence remained, a confidence that nothing - not even death - can destroy a sacred relationship.

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.