Artisan loaves, rye, sourdough, seeded – the plethora of bread and bakeries is what I love in Denmark.
God is good
I love too the promise of yeast in supermarket fridges – exquisitely packaged with the promise of abundance later. Give that small square bundle a little warmth, sugar and liquid, and miraculously it grows before my eyes, its pungent warmth and scent suffusing the house! Seemingly irrepressible, the dough rises and doubles in size. I knock it down and leave it to its own devices; and it doubles again!!
‘Goddisgoode’ was one of the former names for yeast. Written as one word, in modern times it looks like the first part of an email address or Danish tongue-twister, but it signified that “it comes from the great grace of God.” As no-one understood its chemistry or knew its origin, yeast was a gift from God, like manna in the wilderness. Pure gift. And it lies at the heart of bread.
Our daily bread
When Jesus said he is the Bread of Life, embodied now in the church’s weekly celebration of Holy Communion, he was offering himself as a gift fundamental to meeting our inner needs – much as bread meets our physical needs. He used yeast as one of his illustrations about the way the Kingdom of God works. And when he gave himself as bread, he said it was for the life of the world.
We share God’s life so that we can be the truth that God is good. World events and the circumstances of our lives often knock it down as dough is knocked down. But God’s goodness is irrepressible and the warmth of our response will help people to recognise it. To help people (re)discover the goodness of God is what we at St Alban’s have been doing for a very long time. In lockdown and deconfinement, we have doggedly repeated the message that God is good despite the ravages of this devastating disease.
Waste not, want not
Some seem to think that Christian life is all about having a set of DOs and DON’Ts to live by. It is true in part, but not a very life-enhancing approach at all! The fears concerning COVID-19, the continued injustices of the world and our personal challenges can do nothing to diminish the truth that all our hungers are met in the Bread of Life, Jesus.
Book of Common Prayer aficionados will know the oft-forgotten festival of Lammas Day, the ‘Loaf Mass Day’, an August festivity when a loaf baked with newly harvested corn would be brought into the church and blessed. A forerunner of harvest festivals, which were only introduced in the 19th century, this more ancient offering united home and church, fast and feast, and need and yield. I was reminded of My Lammas in my Danish language class recently when a ‘klassekamarater’ referred to the ‘waste not-want not’ giveaways in bakeries and supermarkets. Everyone immediately downloaded the app!
Indian evangelist DT Niles once noted that “Evangelism is witness. It is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” And at St Alban’s Church we share God’s goodness and invite others to enjoy the Bread of Life too. Please register at firstname.lastname@example.org where God’s abundance awaits. We will mark harvest and offer thanksgiving, pray for the elimination of hunger and the injustice that locks most of the world’s food away from those who need it most.
Far from sitting back and thinking how fortunate we are; we will be preparing to sow seeds and encourage growth for the harvest to come, when the will of God will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.