Kay has always been the baker in our home. To be more complete, Kay has been the meal planner, fantastic cook and baker. The kitchen is her domain, which makes me a happy man.
There are times that I might try my hand at something in the kitchen, but I make colossal messes and use too many bowls, pots and pans for what I am attempting to accomplish. Normally, Kay is perfectly content to just call me to the table to eat.
A few months ago, Kay was running some errands and I decided to try to make unleavened bread. Together, we had baked bread before, but I wanted to bake some from scratch for an upcoming Communion Service. My desire was to spend the two hours worshipping and praying as I mixed and baked. The house was empty and quiet, just the Holy Spirit and I were there; the only sound was my movement in the kitchen, prayer and quiet singing.
It was a meaningful time. The bread turned out to be edible and the reminders of Isaiah 53 were wonderfully obvious as I went through the process of kneading the dough, pressing it out, stripping it, cutting it, piercing it, and breaking it. “Thank you, Lord, for being pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, wounded for our healing, I whispered throughout the process.” “Bless the ones who hold and eat this bread, Lord,” I prayed.
I wondered the hope and encouragement that might be needed by someone holding any given piece, and I prayed for them. I thought of the joy and peace that was settled in someone else holding another, and I prayed for them. I called out prayers for each person, who would participate in the service.
Once complete, I cleaned up the kitchen, packaged the bread and made a decision to never make unleavened bread like that again. Don’t misunderstand me, I would bake the bread again and worship and pray throughout the process, but never again do it alone. Now that I was somewhat comfortable with the process and the product, I would share the experience with others, multiply the worship and service opportunity.
With Passover and Easter approaching, I mentioned to a few people my intentions, and even announced it generally in one service. I am sure that people were leery. I assured people that God intentionally made the process simple and that Kay would be with us in the kitchen.
With rolling pin in hand, about eight of us gathered with unleavened wheat flour, white flour, olive oil, water and kosher salt. We read scripture, prayed and talked about the significance of the process. Periodically, as someone felt led or someone had an insight, we’d read other verses or discuss something significant about the process. It was a sweet time of fellowship, ministry and worship.
As we finished the morning, with the freshly baked bread in containers and prayed over, we were each challenged to do it again. However, the next time, each of them would lead a group, leading more people through the worship and ministry experience.
MeadowBrook used some of the unleavened bread on Palm Sunday and some of it on Good Friday. For the ones who baked the bread, their experience was unique as they participated in the Communion service.
Six other lay couples were invited to serve the Good Friday Communion. Ordinarily we use staff and spouses to serve on Good Friday, but this year I sensed that the laity should serve. People were selected of various ages and backgrounds.
With intentionality, Kay and I served each of them and handed them the plate and cup from which they were served. They were commissioned to serve the congregation, speaking the gospel truths of the body and blood of Jesus, which was broken and shed for all. Once each lay couple was positioned, Kay and I stood with our family and were served by the couple closest to us, Hugh and Pat Simmons. Hugh, a cancer survivor, and Pat, an “in sickness and in health” wife, graciously served my family and me. Even now, I am moved by that experience.
To most people, it was a worshipful Communion experience. It was to me too. It was also a huge reminder that service is better when more people are ministering. Ministry leaders are equippers of the saints for the work of service (Ephesians 4:11-14). My call is not to accomplish, but to invite, lead and equip others to accomplish and experience God in the process ministry. Please pray that I will do it well.