John 6:25-35 - "I am the bread of life," Jesus told them. "He who comes to me will never be hungry' he who believes in me will never be thirsty."
The week before Christmas, 2010, I made cinnamon rolls to give a few friends. Baking is a way I connect with God, and I was excited to begin. Blessing my hands reminded me I was beginning holy work. After gathering the utensils and ingredients, I lit a candle. I was ready.
My large, brown, glass bowl - the only piece remaining from a three-bowl set Mike and I received for a wedding gift - brought memories of decades of baking. Whenever I make bread or rolls, I use this bowl because it is the perfect size to hold dough that often rises over the edges.
I mixed the ingredients, transferring the sticky dough to the kitchen counter, and began the rhythmic flow of adding flour, rolling the dough, adding more flour until the dough was smooth. Returning the dough to the bowl, now in a different form, I covered it with a towel.
I was in and out of the kitchen for the next hour. Every time I looked at the bowl, the towel was higher, pushed upward by the expanding dough.
"This is what Mary's womb must have looked like as her pregnancy advanced," I thought. "Here is a picture of Jesus, who eventually called himself, 'the bread of life', right in my own kitchen!"
In that moment, a week before the celebration of Jesus' birth, a familiar expression of Jesus, cradled in a bowl that celebrated new life through marriage, came forth once again in the beauty and mystery of rising dough.
Prayer: Jesus, I love you and the way you come to me, making my fingers sticky with your presence. You are my bread, you promise me daily bread. I set my table early in the morning, waiting for you to rise in my heart and fill my plate. Amen.