Sunday, April 22, 2018

A real presence

Loaf of Hackney Wild, ready to be slashed and put in the oven
Crash is home for a couple of weeks, between a spring  and the start of the summer Shakespeare season.  He brings with him new break baking skills — honed in a London bakery.  I've been enviously admiring his photos of crispy sourdough loaves from afar, and dutifully keeping his Atlantic crossing starter alive, so was excited to get to give it a fly this weekend.

This is not a recipe for quick bread, you start three or four days ahead of time.  A leaven is made from the mother starter.  And fed up for a few days. Finally, in goes the flour and water. The dough is stretched and turned, again and again over 5 hours.  Then into a basket it goes overnight, to be baked after Mass this morning, where the gospel took up the story of the disciples who had walked to Emmaus, and who had recognized Christ in the breaking of the bread. And where three young members of the parish received the Eucharist for the first time.

It was hard to wait to bake this bread, harder still to wait for it to cool once it came out of the oven.  When I had asked one of the young First Communicants if she had been excited, she told that she could not wait, and told her siblings (and parents!) that they had to be out the door early. "I was afraid I wouldn't get there in time, that I would miss communion." She had, I thought, a well developed practical theology of the Real Presence going, she knew what she desired and it wasn't the dress or the party or the relatives. It was God incarnate.

The week before I'd been sitting in the pews before the vigil Mass began, taking a short walk to Emmaus myself, when the unmistakable smell of fresh bread insinuated itself into my meditations.  I looked up to find a young man in suit, with what I suspect was a still warm loaf of bread wrapped in foil, in search of someone in the congregation to give it to.

There is bread here, and a God we come to know in the breaking of bread with each other.

1 comment:

  1. I've been reflecting on patience and persistence this week. What a perfect example!