The dough, she recommended, should stick to the bench. Well, it was sticking to my hands anyway, as I tried to knead it. Trying to form it together, into one loaf, I’d set on the rise.
I’d been reading out loud to my parents, just the day before about, about this little church I am a part of. About how we eat bread, and it means more. I was getting a steam up as I spoke, losing track of time. Talking about how we’ve married in to this wide, old church, full of traditions I was unpicking and resewing. The bread is set at a table, and that table is family from one million different places and times, but it’s also you and me here. Joining this wide old church we feel the stretch in our arms, as the breadth of who arrives at the table, who gathers for the bread stretches us. Stretches us to be able to hold together as a family around this core thing, of the one who was broken and shared like the bread we eat together – Christ.
This people of bread, we try to hold together our family at all costs, even if we can’t understand our differences. He was blessed and broken and shared with us. So too, we are blessed and broken and shared with each other. And so I see, when the many become one we lose ourselves in something bigger.
How this most simple thing, is free. But it is costly. So the decision to eat it costs us something – our individualism, our withheld love, our justified grudges. It’s a symbol; it’s a reality.
So I’m here, making this loaf one, and my hands are in the thick of this dough. It is stretched and squashed and this little bit of sourdough yeast goes further still then I could have thought. Just as the dough of the bread itself is gathered together by hands that make it into one loaf, it is torn apart and shared, and those who receive it become it. Many, one.
Here I am, thinking about who will gather at this table I stand, kneading at. Who will I share this bread with? Using my hands and my mind and my soul, I’m thinking about another one who also is kneading – stretching and pulling together people to be reconciled around the bread that is Christ. The one that is inviting to the table; to share, to celebrate, to be nourished.
Like the dough in my hands, my mind had been pulled and twisted and folded, in the thinking about this mysterious bread.