Baking Bread Together
I met him just the other day,
As I walked through the wheat-filled fields.
His cabin cloistered in the forest
Surrounded by lush sycamores.
The atmosphere was still, but for a cooing dove.
I stopped and focused on his abode
Made of fine olive wood.
Each corner held by twisted branches,
The roof was expertly thatched.
The door and windows firmly held,
By long heavy spikes.
Nearby an oven chimney with swirls of soft white smoke.
From the fresh tilled soil stood a roughly built trellis.
Where bloodredthorn-clad roses coiled ’round.
I stood stock-still to ponder If I might find the owner home.
Then my heightened sense
Led me on softening steps to the open entrance.
Should I venture in?
The more I stood, the air was filled with the scent of fresh baked bread.
The sweet aroma wafted forth, and I tentatively moved closer.
I heard no talking voices or clanging pots and pans.
Before I realized it, my impulse to knock came forth.
I made sure it was not a raucous banging on the wood
For fear I would startle whoever lived within.
I sensed that this cabin held something to explore.
How bold! I found myself crossed the threshold, and slowly walking down a woolen rugged hall.
As I moved, the warmth increased.
The wheat smell came deep and strong.
To my right, I found what I was looking for!
There stood an expansive table
Ladened with the goods. The flour sack, the jug of Water,
A bowl with fine ground Wheat.
The rolling pin and measuring Cup,
This Baker would soon use.
Where was this Person?
A glance around the room,
Found Him clad in powdery apron,
Dough upon His Hands,
Standing with one foot balanced on a nearby stool,
Kneading, folding, and rolling.
Forming into pans.
Before I realized it, He turned to look at me.
His Countenance, so Gentle.
A flour-speckled beard, showed how much His efforts mattered,
To make this finest Bread.
“Come and sit beside me,” said He,
As He took His foot away
From the only stool
To make some room for me.
“Please, sit closer, be at ease and watch me, If you so desire, I will teach you how to knead the dough,
And place the Leaven within the batch just right.”
Some time went by, we barely spoke.
An occasional glance we shared.
Then He broke the silence,
To invite me to walk ‘round the other side.
He nodded, saying, “Please share in this with me.”
I powdered my hands, and began to knead.
We stood face to Face.
His Image seemed to penetrate my very bone and sinew to pierce my very heart.
With a sigh, He then stood back,
Wiped the dough from His Hands,
And handed me the Towel.
Together with our handiwork,
We approached the oven
Where He placed the loaf,
Just like a reverent Offering.
While the bread rose to take its form,
We cleaned a portion of the table.
Drew up two chairs,
A Plate and Cup.
Then ready, hot and fragrant,
He fetched the sweet loaf.
We sat and shared.
He Spoke. “Take this loaf with you, back home to celebrate in Hope and Trust with all the Hungry you will meet.
In Remembrance of Me.”
Loyola House, Guelph, ON
August 17, 2005
Jesus, these past two days I’ve been so drawn to share Bread with you. Yesterday, on the shore our encounter with such calm deep. I hunger for an inner stillness, a peace that basks my soul. One to ease my inner self, yet reaches outward each dawn. Your whispers called my name as your beloved one. Me, chosen! How? I hold this truth much closer to my breast. And, yet again, this morning, you’ve shown me what you mean. We breakfasted together, one that satisfied my needs. I still clasp the moment as I sat coffee cup in hand. Alone I sat, just letting be the mornings hazy light. No need to rush, no thoughts to mind. Just placing lips to taste the warm fragrant draft of liquid, soothing my very depths.
Then in the Silence, a tiny sound! I try to focus. Before me, kneeling, you place the water bowl. I see the towel wrapped around your waist. A moment, NOT a WORD is spoken! Here I sit in unbelief as you reach for my arthritic feet. Wait! Just wait, O Jesus! I can’t allow you to do this for me. You look at me with longing and yet a firm rebuke. “I must do this act for you or you really have no share. Today, my Gift to you I fill with the freshness of this warming balm. My love for you runs like a flowing stream.”
“Come bend down and hold close my head, caress my very crown in your curved palms.” O, such warmth soon flows down through my fragile flesh. His fingers stroke so softly, an inner calm enfolds me like a wool–made garment.
Next, I feel His gentle lips kiss long upon my feet. This moment will stay with me as days ahead will pass in breezes by and by. We curled, me stooped. Him leaning low in such loving embrace. I relax – NO SOUND!
Sister Catherine Casey, SP
Based on Seiger Koder’s painting ”Washing Feet”
Sunday, May 29, 2016