I like to make Challah bread. It is the traditional bread prepared for the Sabbath. The recipe is simple; activate the yeast, mix the eggs, water, and honey, fold in the flour, and let rise. Says it takes an hour but may take more depending on the conditions, humidity, temperature, etc. but don’t rush it, just let it rise till it doubles in size. Then, and this is crazy, but the recipe says:
“Punch the dough down several times to remove the air pockets”
Then you let it rise again, and again you punch it down, knead it, and braid it. Two beatdowns, the recipe says are critical to making great bread. If you get impatient and don’t let it rise, or don’t beat it down, it will not become the best Challah.
Father you sent us Jesus and he grew up to be a carpenter, winemaker, and meal partaker. So I am guessing he knew something about making Challah as well as making people. And then, he also became Bread, the Bread of life. He went through the process, despite being the Prince of Peace. He took the beatdowns, rose up on the cross, entered the oven of the ultimate affliction, and baked in Hell... but rose again finished. Perfect. So now we too, can choose. I sometimes want to skip the beatdowns, become impatient to rise because the conditions are less than optimal. But in the end, in my soul, where words don’t exist, but deeper truths are groaned, I want to be perfect bread too. I want to be broken for those who are near me, especially my Hope Street family. I want to be just a crumb of your Bread that brings life. Preheat the oven, and finish me. Perfect.
(Former Hope Street Executive Director and Volunteer)