Sacred Space Feb 2009
Jesus described himself as the Bread of Life (John 6:35) we wanted to explore this metaphor.
We began by hearing about the life of Brother Lawrence and how he learnt to be aware of God all through the day as he did the most menial tasks in the monastery kitchen, so we were invited to meet God as we made white bread rolls. Much flour and kneading later the rolls were left to prove and we moved into the church to visit various prayer stations to help us think and pray about bread:
A map of the world was accompanied by bread from around the world, rye bread, pittas, nans, chapattis etc so we could think of areas of the world where many people do not have enough to eat and could pray for them. We thought about issues of food justice and why some people are hungry and some governments unable to provide their people with basic food stuffs. About big corporations that keep seed prices high and use genetically modified seeds ad fertilisers that many subsistence farmers cannot afford.
At another station we watched yeast working, frothing up up in sugar water and thought of waiting time. We used Psalm 13 and remembered our own apparently unanswered prayers and God's promise that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be satisfied
At another we examined the labels from some bought bread and looked to see what is added. Our own bread had required only flour, yeast, water, milk and a little sugar and salt. Bought bread had a load of other stuff but we also discovered that there are things added to bread commercially which do not have to be declared on the label because the substances themselves do their work on the flour and other molecules and are then destroyed in the process of cooking....chemical oxidants and chemical improvers, lots of enzymes from genetically modified organisms.
Finally we all came together for a feast, the commonest image Jesus uses of heaven, we ate our delicious rolls with butter and fairtrade jam and honey and remembered some of the many stories about bread in the Bible.
A prayer from Christian Aid
Loving God, take our hands
take our lives
ordinary as wheat or cornmeal,
daily as bread-
our stumbling generosity
our simple actions,
and find them good enough
to help prepare the feast
for all your people
I would happily give all the information to anyone who wanted to try and copy it in their own church.
The main link I used was
http://sfbread.com/ the San Francisco Bread review site has stuff about the additives in bread.
Plus a lot of poems and information in Joy Mead's book The One Loaf ISBN 1-901557-38-3 published by Wild Goose Publications The Iona Community