RSS Feed

#SourdoughSeptember Day 8

A couple of years ago, before I started this whole training-to-be-a-vicar lark, Lucie, Charlie (aged 2 1/2 at the time) and I spent a while in France.  One of the things we did while we were there was help out with the catering for a mission training conference run by Bless.  We have had various levels of involvement with Bless over the years, including a trip to Croatia and several years on team at Spring Harvest and one of the highlights of our time with Bless was getting to know Gerard Kelly, and in particular his work as a poet.  Gerard has a remarkable way with words, most frequently expressed through his Twitturgies.

By this point you’re probably wondering if this has anything to do with bread or #sourdoughseptember or am I just filling a blog post with reminiscences in order to keep up my daily posting schedule?!

Well, to go back to that trip to France, one of the days we were there we went with the team to a small church in Lisieux where Gerard was preaching.  Gerard had asked me if during the service I would bake some bread and never being one to turn down the opportunity to bake I readily agreed.  What I then had to figure out was how on earth I was going to bake a loaf in under an hour in a tiny portable oven!  What was worse I would be baking this loaf for French people who, I think it is fair to say, have a slightly different relationship with the staff of life than the chemically-enhanced-plastic-pap loving Brits!  In the end I decided to go for a simple Pain Irlandaise (soda bread to you and me) with some herbs de provence added to enhance the smell if nothing else.

As we approached the end of the service and the bread was ready to come out of the oven Gerard gave me the nod, I took the steaming hot bread out, put it in a bowl and brought it down to the table at the front of the church.  As I did Gerard read this poem:

Jesus est le pain - GK

This roughly translates as:

Where people are hungry
Jesus is the bread

Where fears have no end
Jesus is the bread

In the smile which makes the broken heart healthy
Jesus is the bread

In the love which offers a helping hand
Jesus is the bread


Jesus could have compared himself to all sorts of things, beautiful things, magnificent things, rare things, and they could all have been true but the astonishing thing is that he chose to identify with the ordinary, everyday experiences of life.

I am the light.  I am the gate.  I am the shepherd.  I am the way.  I am the vine.

I am the bread.


Bread.  That everyday foodstuff which we eat almost without thinking about it.  Which permeates our lives and accompanies any occasion.

Greasy bacon sarnies on a lazy Saturday morning.

A quick ham sandwich rustled up after school.

Crisp and chewy bread and butter pudding when you’ve got friends round for a meal.

A piece of slightly stale bread and jam when you’ve almost run out of food.

Rich bread sauce for Christmas dinner.

A small piece of soft bread pressed into your hand at the altar.

I am the bread.


In identifying with this most elemental, everyday food, Jesus identifies with our elemental, everyday experience.

In our hunger.

In our fears.

In our brokenness.

In our love.

Jésus est le pain.


One response »

  1. Pingback: #SourdoughSeptember Day 13 | Bread ovens and bicycles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: