1 May 2013
I have just been watching a television programme about bread making. It's at times like this you wish 'smellavision' or 'tasteavision' had been invented. Is there anything more enticing than the smell and taste of fresh bread?
The ingredients are nothing fancy but several things are vital in making a good loaf.
Unless you’re making flatbreads, a living organism has to be part of the mix - yeast is essential.
You have to knead the dough, stretching, pulling and oiling to produce gluten chains that enable the bread to rise. Then you have to leave it to 'prove', allowing the bread to double in size. Only then do you bake it in a hot oven, before bringing it to the table to be shared.
‘God delights in taking the simple ingredients of our lives and making them productive.'
If we want to be part of the solution that ensures no-one in our world goes to sleep hungry, it seems to me we have to 'become bread'.
Sometimes the task seems huge and it's easy to say 'there's nothing I can do' - but God delights in taking the simple ingredients of our lives and making them productive.
Recently, I was in Uganda. My new friend, Lillian, led us round her hillside garden, proudly showing us her pig and chickens. All this began very simply, through a programme run by Tearfund's partner, PAG (Pentecostal Assemblies of God).
Lillian started to use the very little she had to make pancakes to sell. 'And now,' she said, 'we have all we need.' PAG is helping 9,000 people like Lillian to work their way out of poverty.
To the basic ingredients of our life, God adds the oil of his Holy Spirit and, as life stretches and kneads us, he is worked into the fabric of our lives to fill us and change us.
It is only then that we can become the 'Kingdom yeast' that can affect our world, which Jesus talked about in Luke 13:20-21.
The more this happens, the stronger we get. And the more of us God uses like this, the stronger the Church gets.
Then we understand that we can do more together than apart, and that our lives are not islands, separated from others' pain.
Bread making requires patience. God is infinitely patient with us, and just because the process also requires being put in the furnace, it never means he has stopped loving us.
IF I really had your heartbeat,
IF I saw things through your eyes.
IF I truly loved my neighbour,
IF a cry in me would rise.
Rise to you the God of heaven,
To move your people with your truth.
That we would raise a shout for justice,
And bear witness to your light.
IF that were so then no-one's children
Would have to die for lack of bread.
IF that were so the wealth of nations
Would not be squandered, used instead
In wise investments.
People matter more than things.
But only IF I get the heartbeat,
Only IF I give the cry.
Then the IF is more than maybe,
And God's glory will be seen.
Helen Griffiths, consultant in international human rights law and violence against women and a member of Tearfund Wales Advisory Committee.
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