Towards the end of last year, I devised a grand plan for 2013. The aim of the plan was to improve my giving to friends and the community. I am blessed by wonderful friends who bring me all manner of gifts: fruit, jam, soup, stews, casseroles, cakes, curries, chutney, garden produce, magazines, books, clothes and even, one time, a pair of earrings. I like to give in return and I especially like to give baked goods, in particular home-made bread. I love to make bread. So my grand plan was to make a loaf of bread each day to give away. I made a good start but, after a week, the whole wheat flour and the bread maker machine decided to disagree, and I had so many bread failures that I gave up trying to feed the neighbourhood. Making a half decent loaf for my own consumption was barely manageable let alone for anyone else.
I had fun with my bread making, and, as I mixed and kneaded and waited for the dough to rise and to bake, I realised that a few lessons had risen out of the process, too; namely, my grand plan was not grand, but grandiose! Of all the bread I made, I was only able to gift two loaves. The rest was needed for my own household. Making bread every day might be fun but I would need super powers to make enough bread to give away a loaf a day. More importantly, I gained a new appreciation for the words “Give us this day our daily bread”.
We are so used to thinking of bread as that basic “stuff” that we always expect to buy at the cheapest possible price from the supermarket, that we have, I believe, forgotten the wonderful creation that bread truly is. We have cheapened bread to such an extent that we no longer see it as life-sustaining bounty which is brought to us by the hard work and effort of many farmers and diverse workers, as well as the skilled hands of artisan bakers and the humble hands of home bakers.
Bread, especially daily bread ( and, dare I say it, even supermarket bread), is a valuable, precious gift. Ideally, it is crafted from the best of natural and man made resources and brought to the table with a generous serving of love. No wonder it gets top billing in the Lord’s Prayer.