Bread is one of those essential things. I know its meaning has been stretched to include ‘a meal of any kind’ or ‘food of any kind’ but to me it means what it says. It means ‘bread – loaf of.’

There is nothing more basic and honest and homely than a loaf of warm bread on the table, wrapped in a tea-towel. It spells out centuries of hospitality and homecoming and friendship. As a child, I came home after an hour’s horse-ride from school, to a plate of home-made bread on the kitchen table.

Bread is so important, Jesus told a story about it. There was once a man one who had no bread to share with unexpected guests so he went out into the street in the middle of the night to get some. He hammered on his neighbour’s door till his neighbour woke from sleep, just to ask him for bread.

To not provide it was an insult to his guests and only bread could erase the insult. You can read it in Luke 11:5-8.

Bread spells out the sharing of what we work for because we all work to put ‘bread on the table’. It represents all our wealth, easing the pain of all our hunger.

So when somebody knocked on my door and handed me a warm loaf of bread wrapped in a tea-towel, I knew that all his wealth was being symbolically shared with me. I was humbled to receive such an acknowledgment of friendship.

To eat bread together signifies a priceless bond and we get to know each other when we linger over it. We can identify with two people who invited a traveler to share a meal with them. They did not know who he was but they told their friends afterwards they recognized him when he said grace. They said ‘Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread’. Luke 24:35.

What a delicious risk to take – the possibility of meeting Jesus over a loaf of bread!

Elizabeth Price, 

Team writer with Just a Minute