Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Flour & Yeast & Salt & Water & Grace & Peace

There's cheese and then there's cheese. The former comes in a resealable bag and the latter usually has a funny french name and funnier smell. The earliest records of cheese being made by our ancestors is from 8000 years before Jesus would have been dipping bread into oil and fresh goat-cheese.

There's bread and then there's bread. The former comes from a plastic bag with a twist-tie and the latter comes from an oven. The former has tons of funny sounding ingredients, the latter usually has about four. Humankind had been baking wheat flour into bread for up to 30,000 years before Jesus said he was bread.

Most evolutionary biologists say homo sapiens acquiring the ability to cook food is what allowed us to grow our big brains and earn our place at the top of the food chain. Our ability to make milk and heads of grain into things like cheese and bread allowed us to develop agricultural societies, and civilization itself.

But we didn't have to make good cheese. We didn't have to bake good bread.

There really isn't a reason, from a strictly evolutionary perspective, for our desire to constantly innovate and create good food for our families. The ancient Egyptians cooking bread in ovens in 8000BC probably wouldn't immediately recognize the need for the five dollar red velvet cupcake at Sprinkles in Dallas, but they would find it delicious.

Something in us drives us to create. Something in us drives us to enjoy delicious food, and to share it with the people we love. We aren't just creators, we are--by our very nature--sharers of our creations. Tonight I baked a loaf of whole-wheat bread from scratch, dipped it into balsamic vinegar, placed a slice of chèvre and three slices of cherry tomatoes on top, and took a big bite. I don't deserve food to taste that good.

I mushed some ingredients together and shoved them into an oven, but then something else took over and made it into bread. At the most I put seeds into the ground and watered them, but something else took over to make tomatoes. I just bought the cheese at the store! I did next to nothing and was given a gift of a delicious bite of food. The next bite was my wife's, as I ran and made her try this delicious bread.

About 2000 years ago, Jesus was speaking to a large crowd of people next to the shores of a lake. Many of the people in this crowd had been present when He performed a miracle, feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread and some fish. He made an allusion to that miracle, then to the feeding of the Israelites in the desert by God, and then made a declaration.

"I am the bread of life. Anyone who comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

As important as bread is in our lives, in Jesus' day it was even more important. One of the Aramaic (language Jesus spoke) words for bread was the same as the word for life. Jesus was saying "I am the life of life."

Because there's cheese and then there's cheese. There's bread and then there's bread. There's life and then there's life. 

The understanding of how little I deserve and how much I get anyway comes only from the understanding of what life is. Humility isn't thinking less of myself, it's thinking of everything around me in proper perspective with respect to my needs. It's understanding the entirety of my life is contained within Christ's energy moving through the world. In Him there are miracles everywhere I look. In Him I live, move, and bake my bread. 

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.