Today I went into Panera for some of their yummy bagels. They are a weekend breakfast treat! While I was waiting for them, I took note of how beautiful their display of baked goods were. I’ve always admired how lovely loaves of bread are. Golden, rounded loaves…the essence of wholesome goodness. And they are welcoming -the sight and smell of fresh loaves invites you in, to share in intimacy and communion. In ancient societies, bread was the glue that held communities together. Men and women planted and harvested their grain together, women baked their loaves together, families and friends ate their bread together. Even today, when we extend hospitality or friendship to others, it’s nearly always done in the context of sharing meals. Eating bread together is the universal symbol of acceptance and love. When Christ referred to Himself as the “Bread of Life” I think He had more in mind than meaning He nourishes our souls. That is true, but I think He also meant He is the center of our lives, drawing us together in fellowship as we share intimacy with Christ, giving us a purpose, and a place at His table. He is our Bread, our invitation to friendship with God as He encourages us to “come and taste that The Lord is good”.
One of the reasons that I love Panera is that at the end of the day, they donate all their unsold baked goods to local shelters to serve people in need of food and comfort. What a pleasure to support a company who chooses to use their assets to be a blessing to others!
Blessings to you,