What is "Bread & Cup"?
There's nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says so, so it must be true. So let's make the disclaimer.
Bread & Cup is a charcuterie restaurant in Lincoln, NE that I absolutely loved when I lived there and I've coveted the name ever since and have been waiting for an opportunity to use it in my ministry. It would make a really great name for a church. Now all you church planters are going to use it, great.
Oh. Also I lived in Lincoln, Nebraska.
For a year.
And it was awesome.
But that's another blog... Bread & Cup... Yeah.
So this starts a long time ago on a continent that is not this one. Someone happened to fall upon the process of fermentation.
Not what you were expecting?
Michael Pollan in his book and Netflix documentary series, Cooked, explains that if all you had was flour (the whole grain kind, not the white powdery stuff) and water, you could survive on that for a little while. But if you mix the two together, let it sit and ferment, you could survive indefinitely. The process of fermentation - having mixed the ingredients and letting air co-mingle - generates millions of bacteria and microorganisms that in their flurry of life unleash the myriad nutrients encapsulated in the individual grains. This simple process provides more sustenance for life than any industrialized crop we've ever produced as a species. Two ingredients: flour and water. Salt is optional.
Bread in the ancient world wasn't just a little plate on the side of your entree with two slices of a baguette. Bread was the entree, with the treat of something really flavorful to dip it in. Even still in countries like Morocco and Indonesia, and others throughout the Mediterranean, bread is served at every meal and accounts for a majority of the eating. In many places, it is rolled in homes and carried to a baker in the community who has an appropriate oven to bake a lot of bread. It's a community effort and it is still made with those two basic ingredients.
It is delicious.
And it is nutritious.
It would be an interesting project to figure out which fermentation process was discovered first, bread or wine. In both cases, the fermentation generates life, which produces flavor, and nourishment, and joy. They have both played a significant role in Christian gatherings since before "Christians" were a thing.
Whenever Christians have celebrated Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper, Eucharist - whatever name is familiar to you - we experience layers and layers of meaning in this simple, humble meal of bread and wine. The variety of practices from denomination to denomination are numerous, ranging from a mystical ritual to an obligatory tradition, but the significance remains even if the participants don't realize it or don't believe it. Life. And not just life.
Nourishment for the body, restoration with our community, and communion with our Lord, whom by our participation in this gathering imparts grace and life and love, if I may add, in every bite! Surely, in many traditions we have diminished the practical experience of communion to a stale wafer and a tiny sip, or dip into a cup. It doesn't always incite a flood of joy from our salivary glands, but it produces the same effect, nonetheless.
I can eat bread all day. I am Italian. I love to eat and share space and life with others. I think that's why we are not just called, but commanded to this simple meal of bread and wine: to share space and life, to ferment in the spirit of God in the Word, to be enlivened in faith and spurred into action, spreading the good news of a living God, which raises and increases our "stock" and "yield" in our community.
Bread & Cup. It is what we're calling our Wednesday gathering. A simple gathering around a simple meal. We'll share our experiences in dialogue with God's story, which is our past, present, and future. We'll wrestle with old words that are rich with meaning, even when they seem tired and worn. We'll explore new voices because God is still speaking through modern day prophets in books, and tweets, in spite of a closed canon of Scripture. We'll sing! We'll sing songs of all kinds because all music tells the story, the one story of God and a people in constant fermentation.
Bread and Cup. Wednesdays at 7:30 pm. St. Luke's Church on the Avenue.