Revd Jackie

Rev. Jackie Bullen

Bread of heaven?

Seeing the combine harvesters at work in the fields brings back childhood memories for me and I suspect for thousands of other people. Those long school summer holidays when we were able to walk over the fields to watch what was happening or perhaps we were there in the fields helping with the harvest. Maybe you were in the kitchen at home making sandwiches for those working outdoors or making a flask of tea to take. It may be that you avoid certain places at this time of year when you’re travelling on the roads as you fear you might get stuck behind a tractor and trailer with a heavy load.

We do know that harvesting crops is happening in the fields around us and it will continue for a while yet. Harvest celebrations are being planned and advertised (see details in the church magazine). At harvest-time, people often excel themselves by creating all manner of wonderful things to show off the harvest produce and somewhere in the middle of it all is usually a special loaf of bread. Often in the shape of a wheatsheaf.

This is helpful to us because over the past few weeks in churches all around the world we have been hearing several passages from scripture which speak of Jesus as the Bread of Life or The Living Bread. Passages that challenge us to think deeply about our faith and our relationship with God.

I was reminded of my bread-maker that sits on a shelf in my pantry at home and I said that I was determined to get it out and use it again. I did get it down from the shelf and it is clean and ready to be used but I don’t yet have all the ingredients I need to use it. Yes, I have fresh water, salt and sugar but I know I will also need flour, yeast and milk powder before I can produce anything worth eating.

Despite having many, many recipes for bread and many variations of those recipes, without the basic ingredients and a willingness to spend time putting them together, there will be no loaf. For Christians too, there are certain basic ingredients that need to be ‘in the mix’ before things will start to work together to produce growth in faith and then sustain our lives as disciples. One of the key things is reading and understanding the Bible, our Holy writings.

This autumn we all have a great opportunity to improve our knowledge of the Bible, what it is, when it was written, why it was written and by whom and what it means for us today. The 8 week course has been written by The Bible Society and we are pleased to be able to invite you all to come along. The Bible, although important, is not the only thing Christians need for nourishment. Prayer, spending time with God and with other Christians and thinking about how we live our lives also form part of the recipe for life as a Christian. Just as for a loaf of bread, the ingredients then need to be mixed together in appropriate proportions and be offered a warm and welcoming place to rest so that further growth can occur.

There is always room for spiritual growth in all human beings and the harvest can always be greater.

God Bless