Baking is living

Jesus is called the bread of life. You may have heard that before. But do you know what implies: Baking is living! On Sunday, St. John’s UCC will once again host a fundraiser for the Souper Bowl of Caring. Basically it is a month-long push to support our local food pantry. We do that by sharing a meal of soup and auctioning off all kinds of fun things. It all starts with a worship service that also includes holy communion. Bread and wine symbolize Jesus Christ, the bread of life. This year we are going to take it a step further: We are going to make bread during our worship service! The kids will knead the dough and toss it onto griddles. In effect we will create a bread that is pretty similar to what Jesus actually ate at the last supper with his disciples.

The act of preparing bread is a profoundly worship-like experience. At first you gather, like the congregation does. You gather your ingredients and equipment. You are getting ready. Then you start preparing your mind – you literally meditate on what you are about to make, what it is going to look like, what it is going to smell and taste like. You craft your recipe like you ponder scripture. Then comes the time for mindfulness. That’s when your hands hit the dough. You are in the middle of a creative mess. The phone can ring all it wants, you can’t answer right now because you are literally stuck to the project at hand. You are forced to be present to the dough, with body, mind, and spirit once the kneading has commenced. A church service tends to last longer than the 22 minutes an average person can focus on an average TV episode. Baking is the same way. It forces you to practice patience. Your dough has to rise. Can you handle it when you can’t do anything? All your effort does not make a difference, the yeast does as it will. Isn’t that what makes faith so hard – to surrender control? And once the bread finally comes out of the oven you get to share it. Eating alone doesn’t taste nearly as good as sharing does. The virtue of altruism comes into play here, the giving. That is what we are trying to inspire through the Souper Bowl of Caring: A profound spirituality that leads to an extravagant generosity. Enjoy.

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