This is my own, dare I call it, Great Idea. I hope it offers you some food for thought:)
Food is at the heart of all family and community gatherings.
We live in extraordinarily divisive times.
Could food bring us together?
Could something as simple as bread bring us together?
Invite the entire community to gather for a “Breadfest”: a celebration of all the different kinds of bread the people in your community love to bake, share, and eat.
Every culture and cuisine around the world has some form of bread – some loaf that is leavened or unleavened, shaped or baked in a blob, sweet or savory, glutenous or gluten-free.
Invite neighbors from the whole community – NOT JUST YOUR CONGREGATION – to bake their favorite bread: something special for high holy days or milestone celebrations; something very specific to their ancestral cuisine, community, or climate; or simply the best bread they know how to make. Encourage cross-generational participation in baking the bread – and lots of it!
Ask each “entrant” to create a display – children will be great helpers in this task – with images of the grains and other ingredients (and the recipe, if it’s not a secret), how ingredients are cultivated, where the bread comes from on a global map, and the reason the bread is significant (highlighting religious, cultural, or family celebrations, for instance). The more detailed the display, the better. [This is a beautiful teaching opportunity for families: helping elders share memories as children investigate and learn about their cultural roots!!!]
Create space in your building or outdoors for all the booths. Or meet at a park to make the event more accessible for all.
Mingle! Learn from each other! Taste and see the goodness and richness of the Divine! Explore the cultures and climates and peoples who eat these breads.
Covid restrictions may make this more challenging for a time, but hopefully we’re on our way out of the worst of the pandemic. Be sure to follow all local safety protocols.
This is Holy Communion on both a most basic and a hugely global scale: breaking all of our bread, together, and discovering the enormity of the Cosmic Body of Christ.
This could become an annual event, inspire a local Bake-off a la The Great [Community Name here] Baking Show, and/or blossom into a broader cultural exchange such as suggested in Intergenerational Diversity Exploration.
Updated 07.10.23: And now there’s a book about it: check out Meghan Murphy-Gill’s The Sacred Life of Bread: Uncovering the Mystery of an Ordinary Loaf (Broadleaf) and discover ‘spiritual practices that reveal deep truths as well as pathways toward meaningful relationships with ourselves, our communities, and our environment’ [+ 14 recipes!].