The Simple Act of Making Bread

Hand-crafted Sourdough Rye Bread
Hand-crafted Sourdough Rye Bread

As I poured the sourdough bread starter into my Kitchenaid mixer tonight, I felt a need for simplicity. This is simple. There is dough, rye flour, water and salt in this bread. Knead it on low in the electric mixer for five minutes, and then pour it into a bread tin to let it rise overnight. In the morning, while the coffee is brewing, bake it for one hour at 350 degrees. Then I get to slice a freshly baked, warm piece of sourdough rye bread. I’ll glide a pat of real butter on the bread, and watch it melt into the crevices and decide which topping I want to put on it. Strawberry? Peach? Or just the melted butter with a bit of honey?

Ahh… if life was only this simple. In this uncomplicated act of making my own bread, my heart aches for life to be this easy and this good. My thoughts drift to my Maker…my Creator… my God… Jesus.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35.)

Jesus said this as his disciples were talking about the manna that came down from heaven to feed the Israelites in the desert. This was being discussed the day after Jesus had fed the five-thousand people with just five loaves of bread. I always marvel at that story, trying in my analytical mind to figure out just how Jesus did it. Did He break the bread and as He broke it, did it simply grow more in His hands? I can’t figure it out, but I sure do wish the disciples would have been more descriptive in their testimonies about how this might have looked!

Despite how Jesus did it, it was miraculous, and everyone was fed and happy. He goes on to explain that He is now the bread of God that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. We need to partake of Him in this way, and the Eucharist (or communion) is symbolic of this act of taking Jesus into our bodies to become a part of His body.

I go back to my bread making and it’s simplicity. Can it really be this simple? Is all that God requires of us is to believe in our hearts that Jesus is the one who takes away sin? I just need to take Him into my soul and believe?

Tomorrow morning, as my bread bakes and I smell its goodness, I will thank God for this bread, and I will ask Him to continue to show me how life can be made more simple if I just slow down and listen to Him as He softly whispers, “I am the bread of life.”