I’m one of the members of the congregation of Elim Lutheran Church who has been commissioned to take Holy Communion to members who are home bound or hospitalized.
The other day, I took Communion to a member of our congregation, a woman in her eighties. As usual, I got more out of the experience than I gave.
I knew that she had immigrated from Germany many years ago, but I did not know that she had lived in East Germany. She said that after the Nazi government fell, first the Americans came, but soon the Russians replaced them.
“We never had anything to eat, not under the Nazis, and not under the Russians,” she said. “We lived on potato peels. You could buy a bag of potato peels for two marks.” She indicated with her hands a bag about the size of a paper grocery bag. “We would boil them to get the dirt off, and then we ate them.
“When my husband wanted to emigrate to America, I wasn’t sure, but first, he went, and then, when he had a job, he sent for me.
“I didn’t know the language, so the only job I could get was cleaning rich people’s houses. I couldn’t believe the waste! In this one doctor’s house, they would take the ends off a loaf of bread and throw them in the garbage!
“I felt like taking them out of the garbage to take home, but I didn’t dare. In East Germany, we never even dreamed of having bread, and here they were throwing it away!”
Do we ever stop and think of the blessings we have? Sure, we say grace before we eat our meals. “Bless this food, Oh Lord, and our lives to your service.”
Do we ever thank God for the two slices of bread at the ends of the loaf? Do we thank God that we do not have to live on a diet of potato peelings?
From now on, when I pray grace, it will be a little different.
And, I will be eating the heels of the loaf of bread.