If you were to peer in our kitchen on a Sunday morning, you would see me pouring a liter of milk into a pan and putting it on a burner to heat while I put a spoon of salt, about half a cup of honey, a heaping spoon of brown sugar, and about three-fourths of a cup of margarine in a large mixing bowl. Then I cut a piece of soft, moist yeast and put it into a small bowl of lukewarm water and lightly beat three eggs in another bowl. Just before the milk boils over I pull it off the stove and swoosh it over the butter, honey, salt, and sugar, stir it a bit, and leave it to cool. Now I can do other jobs until the time comes to put the eggs and yeast into the mixture and add flour, mixing until it is just right for kneading. During the two or more hours we are to be away at church the dough will be left to rise, and a while later fresh rolls will come steaming to the lunch table.

Homemade bread gives us a sense of continuity with the past, whether the bread has been baked in an electric oven, a gas oven, a wood stove’s oven, or an old plaster oven where the coals are raked out to make a place for the loaves. It helps us understand what Jesus meant when he declared that he was the Bread of Life (John 6:35). Those who stood there that day and heard him review Old Testament history for them should have already been taught that there was more than miracle connected with the manna that their ancestors had enjoyed in the wilderness. That manna had miraculously fallen morning by morning, to be gathered one day at a time, fresh every day except for a two-day supply once a week. Now the descendants of these manna-eaters were asking for a sign, a miracle as great as the manna. Jesus was telling them that he himself was greater than the manna. ...

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