Take Eat This Is My Body

Last week my son asked me to make bread rolls. It reminded me of my childhood, when I’d watch the wife of a man who looked after my horse, make bread.

I would take the train up to their small town, telling my mother that I was going to check on my horse. I'm not really sure why I bothered telling her as she really wouldn't have noticed I was gone anyway. But the truth was that I really missed Mrs Fowler’s cooking and I enjoyed being around her grown children who were all involved in equine activities.

Mrs Fowler was a simple woman, resolutely Baptist, full of life and full of Christ. I was always fascinated by her dedication to her Bible. It seemed as if virtually every passage in it had been underscored and before I went to sleep at night I would peek at her in their sitting room, napping in her chair beside the fire, with the open Bible serving as a blanket over her chest and her glasses hanging half-way off her face.

From her small kitchen in their simple country house Mrs Fowler could make the most marvellous breads in what appeared to be taskless seconds. And all the while she’d be singing sweet songs about her relationship with Jesus. I'd rise at five in the morning just to watch her in action, preparing what in my eyes was a feast for her family, but to her simply a labour of love.

It was quite a different world for this young Anglican mind to experience, as she'd drag me off to one of her Autumn night church services. And if the word 'confession' is appropriate in this context, it was the end of the service I actually looked forward to, when the local farm women would unwrap their fresh baked goods for the faithful to share. In my small eyes I saw this to be the communion which didn't quite seem to figure into a Pentecostal country Baptist service.

Several months before Mrs Fowler passed away I went to visit her. It had been nearly 25 years since I last saw her. I wanted to tell her that I believed she was the one who had planted the seed in me to start my own spiritual journey. And she was the only person who had given me the confidence to at least 'try' making bread.
But no matter how hard I tried, as a young person, I could never recreate those magnificent rolls she made. It was her art and it was her gift. A gift she openly shared; her communion for those she cared about and loved.

That was long ago. Today whenever I make my bread, my mind is flooded with warm memories of Mrs Fowler. Typical guy; I’m probably much better at incinerating things on a grille than I am at baking, but I still enjoy the exercise.

It’s soothing on the soul and allows me time to make mental doodle marks in the air about things I want to write about. And kneading the bread - that tactile movement, can be quite comforting. Once done, I can set it aside and allow the yeast to do its stuff.

The function of yeast is fascinating. You mix it into a cup of warm water and stir a little: within minutes it begins to breathe, to swell, to soften, and come to life. Little plant spores - that's what yeast is: cocooned in their package until you come along with warmth and water and remind it that it's alive. Mixed with the flour, it begins to feed on it as well, growing and swelling. And in time it has evolved. It has risen to great heights, cresting over the top of the bowl.

Again you work with it, kneading it in your hands, forming it, moulding it, helping it to become what you want it to be. But before it can become bread something important must happen: The yeast must die.

In each place where the yeast spore has been, there will be a pocket of air-an acknowledgement of its death. And into the hot oven it will go. The yeast spores have given their life for the bread.

But their memory remains everywhere in the loaf. They shaped it. Their bodies gave it the power to rise. You even taste and smell them still, though they are gone: that flavour, unique to other breads, is what makes yeast bread so different.

Isn't that just like our relationship with Christ? "This is my body, which I have given for You." It cannot be at all unless I give my life for it. You are the body. You and I - and the bread; we are body together.

And I am in You and You in me. Amen

Father in Heaven, I submit myself to You. Guide me, be with me, lead me in all I do and all whom I serve in Your name, and always Lord God, help me to grow and walk within Your light. I pray this in The Risen Christ's name. Amen

Krisztus feltámadt! Írásos Bill atya gyűjteményéből. Imádkozunk az egészsége. LR

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At 12:31, Blogger FBT said...

we make our bread with a bread machine. It tastes good, but it's not as satisfying as making it by hand. Not quite sure how to weave that into the God and bread metaphor!

At 05:09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your stories and every time I bake now I will remember this. You have a remarkable way with your stories. I wish we lived near you so we could hear you preach. Now I will go make some cookies and think of you!


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