Anais Nin said we write to taste life twice. Today, this thought has pushed itself to the front of my chest: We, followers of the Way, those of us who quest to know Spirit and dwell in Love, we write to make bread.
I know, for me, this is my serving. This is my offering.
Most days it feels like I have nothing. Most days, I would say to Jesus and his disciples when they come around in the crowd asking, “What do you have?” I feel like I don’t have much to offer. Many days I would point to others and say, She has something. Go, find her! She has something that will feed the crowds today. But I don’t have much.
I am learning I don’t need much. In Jesus’ economy those few tuna sandwiches go a long way. What matters is that I fill up, peek into my cupboards and bless those ingredients as worthy.
Like the widow at Zarephath, I don’t actually have nothing. I have something. I just need eyes to see what I have as worthy–stories old and new, words, the ponderings of my heart, the scribbles in my journal. These are the treasures in my cupboards; oil and flour that could make bread. Bread that might perhaps even, like that widow, feed a hungry prophet.
My cupboards are not empty. I simply need to take time, make something and bring it. Offer it up to discipled hands and give it away.
I have to remember: My few loaves and fishes–the little that I have–become eucharisteo and miracle in Jesus’ hands.
He holds my offering in crowd-loving hands and lifts it up to Heaven in thanksgiving and then more hands, available and ready, serve it up to hungry bodies-with-stories.
What rises in me today is this: thinking through our lives, mixing ingredients with faith and hope, kneading stories and watching words grow, in partnership with the One who Loves and asks, What do you have in your heart? is beautiful Theology. Mary-with-her-apron-on Theology.
This making of bread and baking of bread is fragrant, holy work.
Most Fridays we celebrate a Messianic Shabbat in our home. I make bread and light candles and we toast with blessed grapes–communion cups with juice for the kids; sweet wine for the adults. We bless children and guests, identity and future. What we see now and what we see with our Love eyes into the future we hope for them.
We don’t do these Shabat Fridays religiously, but when we do, the week feels rightly celebrated. On those Friday afternoons when I mix one egg and four cups of flour with yeast and milk and a tablespoon of sugar, those Fridays press pause and invite in the holy.
It doesn’t just happen. This making of bread and baking of bread requires intention. And faith.
Every Friday when I bend and place the tray into the hot oven, I pray and say, Bless this bread, Lord. Bless this loaf to the mouths who will sit down at our table tonight and eat with us.
I also pray, because there has been a Friday when Scott had to drive down to the IGA and buy a baguette. Making this bread requires faith that it will rise and shape the way I hope it to. It doesn’t always. My hands shape the braids differently every week. It rises uniquely every time. Even with the same ingredients, no two loaves taste the same. Ever.
But when they do rise, we taste the miracle.
I think about this bread now as I open the doors to the words in my pantry heart today. As I mix and sift and crack and pour. As I watch the rising and wait for the braiding. As I put the bread into the oven and set the timer.
And today, I bend my knees, just like on a Friday, and offer these words up as prayer: Lord, bless this bread to the hearts who will sit down and eat at this table today. For what we are about to receive, I am truly grateful.
These thought have been inspired by Kelley Nikondeha’s post on Doing Theology … Second and Holly Grantham’s comment on my Sabbath post on SheLoves, writing about her “holy minutes on a Sunday” and Ann Voskamp’s extraordinary work “One Thousand Gifts” …
PS: This past May I was part of a Women’s Theological Intensive at Amahoro Africa, led by Ruth Padilla and Rene August. Those hours on those five days with my sisters was Holy Ground. As part of our discussion, we used this life-changing text called Doing Theology with Mary (<<<–A PDF download for you.) // Talk about Bread.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.