So Many Ways To Make Bread

[caption id="attachment_10549" align="alignleft" width="226"] A picture of my preacher with the one loaf in hand.[/caption]

Our church does some things with the Lord's Supper that I really like. For one, we use real wine (obviously! that's the only option, right? I mean, right?). For another, we all share from one loaf. We're still small enough to eat from one loaf, even at eighty strong. The loaf is torn in half, then each person tears of a piece for himself. To tell the truth, with an only sightly bigger loaf we could continue to tear off the healthy pieces that we do and still give bread to two hundred; it's suprising how far the loaf stretches.

Another cool thing we do is the provision each Sunday by different families of the loaf. There's a sign-up sheet, then an elder or a deacon makes a list and sends it out to the wives.

The bread tastes different every time. I never know which family brings what bread and what recipes, unless it's our week to bring it. I think I know which family puts honey in their loaves, but I still have no idea who the crazy person who's always putting herbs in the bread is.

And this is awesome, and only serves to bring us closer together as one body. For what is eating and drinking unworthily but despising brothers over issues of food and table? How easy and sanitary it is for churches to go out and buy bread made in a factory somewhere. Every Sunday I take the Lord's body and blood, and it comes to me not only through the hands of the fallible men at the table, but through the hands of women who don't do things the way I'd choose to do them. Somehow, whether it's the way I'd choose or not, their work feeds me. Pastors and bakers alike.

This morning some silly thoughts reminded me of this. I ripped off my piece of bread and popped it in my mouth. Immediately I thought to myself, "Oh, this is the woman who never puts in enough salt." But as I chewed I had a doubt. "Is it? I can't quite tell. Not as much salt as it needs, for sure. Kimberly doesn't like as much salt as I do either. I wonder why. Ooh! Is that oil?" Right as I was about to swallow I'd suddenly noticed that the bread had much more oil than my family normally uses, and it was really nice. In fact, more salt might have messed up the smoothing effect the oil had on ol' bite n' swallow.

There is only one loaf, and that is all there ever will be. And yet there are so many ways to make bread.


  1. Great article, and a reminder of the power of a community creating bonds on a very human level, and reinforcing a religious ideal.

  2. I hope your [silly] meditation on whether or not there was sufficient oil and/or salt in your bread was not the extent of your communion thoughts; hopefully, they gave way to something having more to do with the observance and partaking of the sacrament.
    Also, why do you use a leavened loaf? We insist on wine because Jesus used it. He also used unleavened bread...

  3. I believe that the Lord's Supper is a time of rejoicing, where God feeds his children. It is not a time of repentance or introspection. God has already accepted our works. Our church teaches that we should have our heads up, looking at our brothers and sisters, who are the Body of Christ, instead of at our belly buttons.

    As for the leavened loaf, we use it because leaven is Christian. We are the pagans brought in. We are the unclean made clean. Some churches in our denomination reserve unleavened bread for times of repentance (i.e. Lent).

    You expressed a hope in your comment. So do I. I hope you realize that your comment was rude. And I hope it was an accident of phrasing.

  4. I fail to see where the comment is rude. I simply restated what you said (I think). As for looking up and looking around and "discerning the body", I think this is a fine practice and in keeping w/ I Cor 11. However, when holding the cup, this is a good time to also be reminded of the sacrifice which required the shedding of the blood of Christ, the pouring out of His life in our place and on our behalf.
    As for the leavened vs. unleavened loaf, to offer "we use it because leaven is Christian" seems pretty weak to me (one or more OT offerings also used leavened bread, as I recall). Based on this statement, why couldn't one also say that grape juice is Christian and import whatever symbolism seemed appropriate (the blood of the bruised grape in grape juice is fresh and/or new like the New Covenant, for example)? It seems to me that when one concedes the use of leavened bread for communion he weakens the case for using wine (vs. grape juice). I maintain that we should use wine since Jesus Himself used wine. About that simple. But if that's the case, it seems that the use of leavened bread should follow. Capice?...

  5. Oops, I meant "unleavened" where I said in the second paragraph, "it seems that the use of [un]leavened bread should follow"...

  6. Why, yes, I do understand. Thanks for asking so nicely.

  7. Jesus never did things in a vacuum; He fulfilled His role in the story of redemption and He understood the story. Doing something simply because Jesus did it, or the NT church did it is not a bad starting point, I suppose, but you can't end there too. We drink wine not simply because "WWJD", but because the whole Bible has a lot to say about wine and what it represents - culminating in the Eucharist. Same with leaven... the whole Bible has a lot more to say about leaven or unleavened bread than simply "that's what Jesus ate one time."
    Also, Joffre's explanation is not weak - it's biblical. That is the story of the Bible. Your analogy, though, is weak because grape juice means absolutely nothing.


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