The Smell of Fresh Bread
By Julie Cosgrove
In the town where I grew up there was a bread factory. During the Viet Nam War years, that factory received a contract to bake for the troops.. The aroma of freshly baked bread penetrated for blocks each day, weekends too, spreading out into business parking lots, playgrounds, and neighborhood backyards. Whenever the folks smelled the bread, they thought of the troops.
We’d pass the factory on Sunday mornings as we drove to church. As soon as we got within a mile or so, the aroma would fill the car. Our mouths would water at the very thought of those loaves meandering slowly on the maze of stainless steel carousels from the oven to the packaging area, gradually cooling, giving off that enticing whiff of heaven.
Bread is a staple. All cultures have some form of bread in their diets. It quiets a growling belly and gives energy to weak bodies. In the wilderness, the Hebrews were sustained by the “bread of angels” – manna. God provided it for them on a daily basis, just enough to get by on for 24 hours, Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer, taught his disciples to pray to be given their daily bread. In fact, He said He was the Bread of Life. He knew his disciples would need Him daily in their lives. We still do.
As a child, I never associated the symbolism of smelling that freshly baking bread on the way to Church with Jesus. But now I do. I want the presence of my Lord to be as close to me as the memory of that bread browning in the factory. Give me this day my daily bread. I want His love to permeate my life just like the aroma of the loaves on those carousels.
Every Sunday when I drive to church, may the hunger for His fellowship and for hearing His Word make my spiritual stomach growl and my mouth water. He is my staple. Without Him in my life, I would wither up. My body would become weakened to the temptations of the world and culture in which I must live. As a warrior of Truth, I need the Bread to sustain me as much as the troops needed those loaves from the bakery. But I want a bit more. I want to take the Bread of Life, just a piece, and walk around so everyone gets a whiff of His grace. I want to draw a crowd and make them salivate for Him. If only they knew that He can still the hunger they have in the pit of their souls. What if when we opened the door to Church, His love floated out, just like the smell of fresh bread, penetrating business parking lots, playgrounds, and neighborhood backyards?
Let’s strive to be a worker in His Bakery, constantly churning out pieces of His Bread, drawing people far and near to taste what is so good about having Christ in their lives. That would be true communion. After all, Christ broke it and said for us to do so in the remembrance of Him.