2 c whole wheat flour
1 c white flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1 1/4 t. salt
4 t oil
1 c hot water (115 degrees)
3 T molasses
3 T honey
Pretty small cast of characters. This is an unleavened bread, so no yeast, making it simple, quick, and fool proof. The lack of yeast also causes no need for kneading, which made me to scrap my original title of this blog "kneading prayer". Catchy, but not applicable here. Maybe another post.
As I collect the goods, I thank God for my stocked pantry, for the food I eat daily, and the abundance I have. I pray for those whose pantries are empty this day, and whose tummies will grumble as they lay their heads to rest.
I mix the dry ingredients together. Moving them about with my fingers, thanking God for the convenience of grocery stores, and a product I didn't have to grow, harvest or mill to use.
Working the oil into the dry mix moves my thoughts and prayers to blessings. I thank all those in service to God who anoint the sick, who pray for them, and bring them the message of the risen Christ.
I carefully heat the water in the microwave and pray for those who lack clean water to drink and wash with. Being thankful for the faucet in my kitchen that flows with safe water each and every day for me and my family to drink and wash with.
As I pour and mix the honey and molasses into the hot water I pray for babies. Honey always makes me think of sick babies, since babies aren't supposed to have honey. I think of my dear sweet girls and am so thankful they are safe and healthy. Honey contains small traces of botulism and causes severe problems in babies whose immune systems can't fight it off like adults can.
I pour the dark, sweet mixture into the dry ingredients while thanking God for diversity on our earth, thanking him for the melting pot of life and praying for tolerance and understanding amongst those who differ from each other. Mixing the light and dry with the dark and wet until it forms one solid ball, which will be a bit sticky, but none the less, is one.
Diving the ball into four sections I pat each one into it's own ball and flatten it, giving it a little flour dusting to prevent sticking. Thanking God for my hands, and my ability to do work, my ability to be a useful and contributing member of society.
Each ball finds it's place on my baking stone and is scored with a serrated knife. While I score the symbol into the raw dough I think of taking up my cross, the cross to follow Jesus. The cross I bear, but Jesus died on, for my sins.
The loaves going into the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. As the timer ticks I've done different things. Sometime I've read a short chapter in my bible study book, or pulled out the bible. This day, my dear sweet Clara awoke from her nap. As I waited for the oven buzzer, I held her in my arms and fed her. I thanked God for the miracle of her birth, and for bringing her to me happy and healthy. I prayed for her, and her big sister snoozing through her nap time.
I get the dishes to the sink and pray for my husband who is my dishwasher. Lord bless him!
The loaves come out after 10 minutes and are brushed with oil, giving them moisture. I pray for rain for the fields, and flowers. I think of the flood victims who have too much moisture, and the drought victims with too little. I pray for recovery in Fargo and the other areas effected recently.
The bread goes back into the oven for another 8 minutes to complete it's baking time.
Stacked on my table they cool. Usually after nap time the girls and I walk down to Wartburg to put the bread in the chapel. I use the walk to pray for all those who will partake tomorrow and thank God for their forgiven sins and the symbolism of that meal. On this day I will freeze the bread and walk it to Scott's house so he can make sure it gets to Chapel next week when we will be gone in North Dakota interviewing. Thank God for Scott and all the work and coordinating he has done this year for chapel linens and Communion bread making it to the table on Wednesday mornings. What a daunting and logistical task!
Most of all I enjoy making the bread. It's a wonderful spiritual time for me, being thankful for things, remembering to pray, being humble and doing something simple. I enjoyed thinking about how I would write this and present it as I made the bread and photographed my steps. I think it made the experience more fun this time. I hope the congregation we are called to uses fresh baked bread, and perhaps I can even be the baker of that special bread. I would really like that.
I thank God for the bread, given for me, and given for you.