“. . . breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
and having favor with all the people.
And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” ~ Acts 2:46
Something happens at a table where bread is broken together. Maybe the bread broken together is turkey, roast beef or salmon. . . maybe a slice of ham. Maybe it’s buttery grilled cheese sandwiches. Maybe there’s carrots, salad. . . roasted asparagus, leeks, potatoes, Brussel sprouts. Maybe there’s water, sweet tea, a glass of wine. And desserts – maybe it’s graham crackers and marshmallow cream. Maybe it’s a cranberry cheesecake, a flourless chocolate torte. Maybe it’s modjeskas, sugar cookies. . . chess bars. Maybe it’s a pie – Coconut? Peach? Normandy?
Maybe it’s a Story Dessert – like a Story Pie, Story Cookies, Story Cakes, Story candies. . . desserts with His Stories and Her Stories. . . passed down becoming a part of the Family Story. Sharing a Story Dessert. . . or a Story Dish is an intimate kind of breaking bread. It pulls those who sit around the table into the Family Story – and, whether they were born into the family or were invited to the Family Table – when they pull up a chair and break bread, they become part of that Family Story. Sitting around the table, breaking bread together with gladness and simplicity of heart involves sharing stories – big stories, little stories, sad stories, funny stories. . . soul stories.
Cooking is more than cooking. Sitting around the table is more than sitting around the table. . . and breaking bread around that table – no matter what that bread looks like – is so much more than buttering up a roll and filling bellies. It’s about filling souls. God designed us to break bread – physically, spiritually and emotionally.
“There are many in the world dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.” St. Teresa of Calcutta
Sometimes breaking bread feeds those needing God’s kind of love.
Relationships are built, grown, mended in this sitting around the table, in this breaking of the bread. Lives can be changed one story at a time shared around the table. Of course, you might not see that change when the dishes are put away. It might be days, weeks, years. . . but breaking bread plants seeds. Gives second chances, third chances, seven times seven chances. . . chances for change, for soul change, for salvation change.
Sometimes those who usually sit in the chairs aren’t there – for good, bad or sad reasons. Yet God designed us to break bread, called us to Feed His Sheep – those He gave us through birth and those He gave us through community. Those that are easy to love – and those that challenge that love is, indeed, unconditional. Each person becomes a part of the story of the breaking of the bread. If a chair is empty, invite someone to fill it, trusting God has the seed planting and watering taken care of for those who choose not to be there, while you break bread with those who chose to come, to sit, to share their stories.
Paul talked about how he planted, Apollos watered and God gives the increase(1 Corinthians 3:6). Sometimes watering and planting look like a two people talking over a cuppa in the local coffee shop. Sometimes watering and planting look like sharing a plate of grilled cheese. Sometimes it looks like a Feast. Sometimes, it looks like Hamburgers & Hotdogs. Sometimes, it looks like Wild Apple Ginger tea in a cup. Sometimes the stories shared go in the size of a mustard seed – to grow, grOW, GROW into just what God-designed it should.
Don’t underestimate the God-infused power of sitting around a table and breaking bread.
“They devote themselves every day to what Jesus taught: to prayer, to fellowship, to breaking of bread together. They shared what they owned; they served each other’s needs. Ethnic barriers came down as they became known by the way they loved each other. It’s a different community, devoted to a Jesus way of life with God.” — John Ortberg
Who are you going to break bread with this Christmas Season? Who’s going to fill the empty chairs? Who has a story you haven’t heard but so very much need to hear?
“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them,
that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him;
and He vanished from their sight.“
~ Luke 24: 30-31
A long time ago, I took this recipe and modified it for my grandmother. Whole pecans gave her diverticulitis, so I thought, maybe, if I turned the pecans into pecan dust, she would be able to eat something she once enjoyed so very well. She wouldn’t try it. Maybe she was too cautious. She was a brave woman – a strong woman but in this area, she chose not to be. Yet, she came, sat around the table and loved listening to all the stories. She didn’t try my pie, but it her strength and courage showed me how to be strong and not give up – even when someone chooses not to try your pie. A few years later, it won a pie contest at my husband’s company picnic. Her story has been passed down to my sons with this pie – a pie that is one of their very favorites, a sit long and talk much kind of pie.
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup (1 stick) melted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1-6 oz. pkg, semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Cup pecans, reduced to Pecan Dust consistency
1 tsp vanilla extract or bourbon
1-9 inch unbaked pie shell
Mix sugar and flour. Add melted butter. Stir. Then add 2 eggs and vanilla/bourbon. Stir. Add tablespoon of maple syrup. Add chocolate chips and pecan dust, stirring until evenly distributed. Bake in a 9-inch pie shell for 1 hour at 350°.
I always like to place pie in the oven just as I sit down to dinner with friends. By the time we finish, so then is the pie. Top with homemade whipping cream. If you need to make ahead of time, heating each piece up in the microwave is recommended for full flavor. However, even served at room temperature, the Normandy Pie will disappear quickly.