Over the last week I have been making bread. This once kitchen-phobic girl has finally let her guard down and begun to create in the tiny kitchen she used to ignore. I am not sure what came over me, but I began to see recipes and photos and articles about cooking and baking and finally I gave in to the temptation and defeated my fears of killing my husband with food. Throughout the last year, I have nailed down some staple meals we have every few weeks and even found my niche in the baking department. Last week we had some beautiful fall weather and all I could think about was bread and soup. I made the soup one night and the bread the next, both turning out surprisingly delicious. We had a quiet night at home last night with no plans or agendas, so back to the kitchen I went to throw together another loaf.
Through my trial and error of baking and cooking, I’ve realized my favorite part of creating something homemade is the joy that comes from it. Whether it’s the pleasure of knowing you successfully measured out the right amount of flour or the random spices you added to the recipe actually taste good or the crowd a home cooked meal brings to the table, there is so much joy that comes from the kitchen that I never knew existed.I am amazed at how my interests and hobbies change and evolve with the different seasons of my life. Being in the kitchen is so foreign to me, and actually enjoying my time spent there is so unlike me. Regardless of how silly this may sound, cooking used to be something I feared. I had this strange expectation that I should know exactly what every ingredient is and where to find it in the grocery. I thought I should understand what “proof” means (and other terms like it) and know exactly how to measure sugar verses flour. And because I had these expectations of myself that were completely untrue, I built up fear and anxiety that stopped me from attempting anything beyond using the microwave and “making” slice and bake cookies. It never occurred to me that people in my life, like my mimi and mother-in-law and step-dad, became so skilled through trial and error. Cooking and baking are somewhat natural gifts, but the real talent comes from the determination to see the product to the end and work to make it better.This season of life we have a lot on our plates, but all good things. Most of the things we spend our time doing involve other people and spending time with them. Our home seems to have a revolving door, with different friends and family members always stopping by or coming over for dinner. We love having people in our home and sharing what the Lord has blessed us with. These opportunities have
forced given me lots of chances to cook and bake for our people, and this has got me thinking a lot about what God intended for community to look like. Food and meal time in general, has historically been a time for friends and family to gather in one place, share whatever is on the table, and on their hearts. I never noticed how prevalent this was throughout the Bible until recently when I started making bread.
The most obvious of uses of “breaking bread” is that of communion. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, we see this clearly explained by Paul:
“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
He goes on in verses 27 and 28 to talk about the significance of looking at oneself and judging where one’s heart is in relation to Jesus. This is our time to full examine our lives and come before the Father to repent and seek forgiveness, yet also remembering His death and resurrection for our sins. Clearly, breaking bread is some serious business.But when making my own bread, another thought crossed my mind. We know that food brings round people to one place and share with one another, but there seems to be something more sacred about bread. You know, out of all the other meals or side dishes or desserts I’ve made, there is something different about sharing bread with others. Maybe it is the time it takes to prepare or the comforting smell it releases from the oven. Maybe the idea of sharing from the same loaf, pulling apart pieces next to one another. Or maybe the fact that bread goes with any meal, making it versatile in nature. Who knows what it is. But when I make bread, all I want to do is share it with my neighbors and give it away to strangers. I know, I’m weird.
In Acts 2 we see a different kind of breaking bread and maybe this is where God has specifically led me on my breaking of bread adventure.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved,” (v.42-47).
What a beautiful sight this is. My bible has this section titled as “The Fellowship of the Believers” and that is exactly what is being described here. Fellowship with other believers comes when we are focused and devoted to the Bible and what it teaches us. Fellowship with other believers comes when we share meals and prayers together, in other words, when we are vulnerable with one another. We begin to have things in common with one another through fellowship and I imagine that some sort of fullness or wholeness comes along with it. Through our shared time together over meals and church and serving, we begin to find within ourselves glad and generous hearts that surely look more like Christ than otherwise. With these beautiful consequences of what life may look like if we take fellowship with other believers seriously, then the breaking of bread in this case is also serious business. I desire for a community like the one found in Acts 2. I desire for God to be the center of our friendships and that living everyday life together is a normal thing. I am tired of the stay inside one’s home kind of life where no interaction with neighbors or friends or family happens within our walls. I want to open my home and be generous with what God has given, forming fellowship with others who might need a little bit of what I have to offer and may offer a little of what they have in return. So, bake I will. With fears pushed to the side. With insecurity throw out the window. Baking with confidence that God will always be faithful and opening my door to whomever might need a slice.