I return to my favourite obsession! I have told some of you before of my relationship with bread and I hope you will forgive me for reiterating the story. It is a story that changes as I change. It is not a surprise that Jesus chose bread (and wine) – those common staples to represent his life and death, but I am getting ahead of myself. My own story begins long before I had any awareness of such symbolism.
The first bread I remember was the factory baked sliced white loaf. As a very skinny little child I remember stealing a slice and picking away at the bread in the middle, chewing it as the bread sweetened as the starch broke down into sugars. I would then eat the crusts, revelling in the texture and the caramel taste. I now look at such bread with abhorence – underbaked, flavourless, an industrial product made by the not giving the dough sufficient time to prove.
Later I discovered wholemeal bread and revelled in the texture and enhanced flavour. The more savory notes excited my developing palate. Still later I started to use a breadmaker. This was a step forward – it created in the house that lovely smell of freshly baked bread but in many ways was profoundly unsatisfactory. The machine performed its’ mysterious tasks entirely without my involvement, and the bread produced was flawed – not least in having a hole torn in each loaf where the paddle is removed.
It was a natural progression to stard making my own bread by hand – skills developing by trial and (often) error. I flirted with sourdoughs – sometimes producing glorious loaves but at other times producing sad pancakes of dense bread. A new factor entered the equation – knowledge. Enthusiasm and experiential learning can get you so far, but there comes a time when we must draw on the experience and skill of others. Now I can reliably produce loaves of Pain de Campagne time after time.
Again I ask if this is an analogy for Christian Life. I answer that it is just bread.