|Choosing to Bake Bread
Simply put, power means the ability to act. I thought about this as I listened to an NPR report from Paris a few days after the attacks there. A Parisian baker was reflecting on the tragic events that took place near his boulangerie. As I listened from the comfort of my home in St. Paul, I was moved to tears as he described getting up the next day to bake bread. â€œEveryone eats breadâ€, he proclaimed, â€œWe all need bread.â€ Like a pastor or member of a congregation, he talked about his role as if it were a â€œministry,â€ this baking bread for others. The everyday human experience of eating bread must go on evenâ€”and especiallyâ€”in the wake of tragedies so near at hand. This baker finds his power in the act of baking of bread. By showing up in the dark of early morning, pre-heating his ovens, kneading the dough, shaping baguettes and boules, and then opening the doors allowing sweet smells of fresh bread to leak out into the neighborhood, he chooses life. Fear and terrorist threats will not shut down his ovens or close down his bakery. He will continue to assert love and human kindness in this â€œpowerfulâ€ act of bread baking.
In this fear-filled time, we must continue to embrace human kindness and compassion. Soon the old story will come our way, as it does every year, a refugee family seeks hospitality and welcome, and finds instead a cold cave. There a child is born, of low degree. To act in love, to live out the varied ministries to which we are all called, is to welcome and advocate for those fleeing unspeakable terror and bloodshed, to bake bread, create, care for children, love one another, pray, write lettersâ€¦that is how we receive the Christ child.