This reflection was written for the Honoré Growers Guild at Honoré Farm and Mill in December 2017.
When I elevate the bread at the altar, I pray a prayer that my Jewish grandfather taught me: Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu melech ha olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz, which means “Blessed are you, Lord God, Ruler of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.”
The prayer reminds me of Sabbath gatherings around challah bread and a Seder meal in which my father had to change his shirt three times because he kept spilling and staining his clothes with wine. The prayer reminds me of the ancient Israelite priests who would bring the holy Show Bread out of the temple three times a year and show it to the children of Israel, saying, “Behold God’s love for you!” And the prayer reminds me of a first-century Jewish mystic who likely prayed the same blessing over the bread when he told his disciples, “This is my Body.”
For me, the prayer holds all these memories, along with deep gratitude for the loving labor of the farmers, millers and bakers who embody the grace of God by helping to bring forth life-giving nourishment from the earth. Finally, the prayer reminds me how fortunate we are to have a God who has chosen to reveal his love and life to us, and invites us to participate in that love and life, by offering us honey-sweet, vitamin-rich, earthy, scrumptious bread.
The Rev. Daniel London
Episcopal Church of the Redeemer
Thanksgiving Day 2017