Bread and the Body of Christ
“Do you remember?” he said.
“A year ago, we met because of your bread. And we came to an Advent service that night.” I had forgotten all about it. Life together had become so ordinary.
A year ago in December, after a near-sleepless night of baking various types of breads, my wife and I loaded up our minivan to be a vendor at an Artisan Fair in Cashmere. We brought with us 16 loaves of bread, rosemary sea salt focaccia bread, overnight pizza dough, and Lauren’s 2020 photo calendars and cards.
When we arrived, I was dead tired, but motivated to sell goods, in hopes to make my soreness have a purpose. The day was going alright. We met a few people, sold a few things, chit-chatted with the other vendors. But mid-way through the morning, I lost steam and wanted out. Why am I doing this anyway? My back is sore, we’re not really making money, and I’m not sure I like the process of baking large quantities of goods. Maybe I should just stick with trying to feed my family, and forget about selling bread to anyone else.
Then the kindest couple happens to walk up, and they want to buy some bread and some pizza dough. I discover that he has a wood fire oven that he built himself, and that he’s going to throw the pizza in the oven that night. He’s leaning in, he’s smiling. He’s just...happy. He asks what I do.
“I’m a pastor at a local church.”
“Trinity Church, but it’s in Wenatchee, I don’t know if you—”
“When’s your service?”
“Well actually, we’re starting up Saturday night services during Advent. If you want to come tonight, it’s at 6pm.”
That evening, I see them, and they have been coming to our church ever since.
That couple is Terry and Nancy Fike. And Terry reminded me just this last Sunday that this happenstance meeting took place a year ago.
Terry and I marveled together and smiled through our masks.
Maybe that day wasn’t about bread after all. That was my focus, to be sure, and he had some tasty pizza that night. Both of those ordinary things matter. But perhaps the more significant event was underneath the surface. God used bread to connect people to each other as the body of Christ.
I tell this story because these kinds of events are happening all the time. And during 2020, we have had numerous stories of how God is using the regular stuff of our lives to connect us to Him, to our neighbors, and to ourselves...all in and through Jesus Christ. The extraordinary is happening hand-in-hand with the ordinary. I usually prioritize the task and the event, over the person and the relationship. One thing I’ve been learning in 2020 is to keep the relational connection as the primary thing. Since God is concerned about forming people more than he is about filling positions or getting things done, that changes our whole drive.
PS (from Julia Barger)
In his sermon on Sunday, WBBC Pastor David Morrow encouraged us with three ways to move into the new year. Remember the last thing God said, follow the clear teaching of Scripture, and listen for the new thing He might be saying. In Advent, we heard God's invitation to "come closer". We gathered together to be the body of Christ to one another and our community. In 2021, may we go deeper into God's Word and Work in the power of His Spirit! (Stay tuned for our "Back to School announcement coming soon!)