4 More Things to Remember when You Serve the Lord’s Supper (Part Two)
Margaret Feinberg | January 24, 2019
The Bible is more than a book to be read—it’s one to be experienced. That’s part of what compelled me to descend 410 feet into a salt mine, harvest olives in Croatia, study figs at a world premier farm, and graduate with a Steakology 101 certificate from a butcher who calls himself “The Meat Apostle.”
With each person, I asked, “How do you read the Scriptures—not as theologians—but in light of what you do every day?”
Their answers changed the way I read the Bible forever. Time and time again I found myself asking, How have I grown up in the church and listened to so many sermons and no one has told me these things?
This journey became the foundation for the book and Bible study, Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers. Yet it was my time with an expert on ancient grains at Yale University that helped me better understand bread in the Bible—and the layered meaning of bread in the Lord’s Supper.
I recently shared 3 Things to Remember the Next Time You Serve the Lord’s Supper with the Catalyst community and your feedback and responses were invaluable. Here are a few more things to remember as you develop fresh ways to distribute the element of bread.
1. Invite members of your congregation to bake the loaves for an upcoming service.
God has placed men and women in your church who love to bake. Put together a team of bakers for a special service to highlight the richness of The Lord’s Supper. Ask them to prepare a few gluten-free loaves, too. Share the background story and names of those who baked. Invite your church to taste the love offerings of your community as part of Communion.
2. Add honey and olive oil into your bread.
The raw manna eaten by the Israelites in the desert is described as tasting like wafers made with honey (Exodus 16:31). Once cooked, it’s described as tasting like olive oil (Numbers 11:8). Whether you utilize a team of bakers from your church or a local bakery, ask that the loaves be prepared with honey and olive oil. As you prepare to distribute the bread, highlight the details of the flavors in the bread and what this reveals about God. He could have given his people bland-tasting bread. But God imbued the manna with honey—a sweetness which likely contrasts with the sweaty toil of the Israelites’ time in Egypt—and the flavor of olive oil representative of God’s healing power after years of brutal slavery.
3. Use darker flours for your bread.
In antiquity, white bread was reserved for the wealthy and elite; the poor ate the darker grains. Why? The grains—including spelt and barley—were more plentiful. They were easier to grow, more resistant to drought, and better able to ward off pests.
When Jesus selects bread to multiply for thousands, he chooses the barley bread of a boy. In doing so, he shows his solidarity with the poor—reminding us He didn’t come for those who have it all together. He came for those in need so consider serving bread elements that use a darker grain since we all are in need of more of Him and His presence. Some of my favorites are barley and spelt.
4. Make a homemade loaf with your family or friends.
The bag of flour. A cup for water. The spoonful of yeast. A dash of salt. The ingredients appear so common, so ordinary, so mundane, yet these become the elements of lifelong memories, of togetherness—the stuff of which miracles are made.
The dough has to be treated with respect. This is not an object to be manipulated but a living organism that requires attentiveness, patience, forgiveness. The dough requires nurturing with flour, with water, with patience, with love.
The tactile nature of pulling and pushing the dough requires an unusually deep intimacy and involvement. In our fast-food culture, handcrafting loaves is anything but quick. The loaves we shape often require hours, not minutes, of working the dough, waiting for the rise, punching down, rising again, shaping, and peeking at the progress through the oven door.
Warm homemade bread is more than food. It offers us a taste of goodness and wholeness and comfort, a moment to exhale in which we forget the coldness and cruelty of the world. Each bite nourishes and satisfies. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. This is what the Bread of Life does for us. The Bread of Life invites us to feast with Him and on Him, to taste His goodness, experience nourishment, and exhale in warmth and comfort from the broken nature of our world.
Share with your church what you personally experience and learn about Christ in the process of making and baking bread.