Setting the Table: Host of Heaven, Bread of Life

After two weeks focused on hospitality, this week we move to “food.” In her book, Taste and See, Discovering God Amon Butchers, Bakers, & Fresh Food Makers, Margaret Feinberg invites the reader into a journey that reflects on six different foods in the Bible. I enjoyed this book and pondered it for several weeks.

The chapter on bread has her visiting Andrew McGowarn, the dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale who specializes in ancient bread making. So in worship, using my phone as a timer, we used the recipe for unleavened bread and I began my sermon, but preparing and baking one piece of unleavened bread while I preached.

I had worked all week to be able to make and knead and bake this bread in the prescribed time. You can read more about the timing and the reason for eighteen minutes in her blog post.

Nothing ever goes according to plan. I had the table all laid out….but unlike other times, instead of two cups of water, one with the right amount of liquid and the other with extra if I needed it, I went with a single cup. I fussed a bit with the toaster oven (as it bakes very differently than my convection oven or the church’s professional ovens.) I practiced and practiced. The oven was hot and ready and I got the timer on the oven set so it wouldn’t go off too early.

When it came time to start, instead of pouring a little liquid into the flour, I dumped it all! Oops! I began with a major mistake, fortunately I had plenty of flour to add, but it threw off my timing. I used local, heritage hard winter Turkey Red wheat from a farmer just a few miles away, who grows it, harvests it and grinds it. I am deeply grateful to Serenity Farms for this flour to use today.

Suffice to say, I was really reflecting on the unleavened bread as the bread of both necessity and affliction. When planning this service I had no way of knowing what a horrible violent week it would be. I thought this could be fun and interesting and yes, what I hoped would be profound.

Since last Sunday there have been 32 people who died and 55 wounded (and perhaps more since this morning.) In less than 24 hours the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio have stunned us yet again. And this is not downplaying the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival last Sunday. It seemed appropriate we were not using the sweet hawaiian bread for the sacrament of Holy Communion, instead, we ate the bread of affliction and the bread necessity which is the bread of Passover and the bread that Jesus used for that last supper. I baked it all this week, along with gluten free unleavened bread.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the bread came out finished in 18 minutes! You can find the whole worship service here. There sermon begins about 32: 51 (but listening to Cindy Dantic Watson on the violin and Brett Valliant on piano is treat!)

 

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