My colleague and friend, Sarah Lund, shared on Facebook the simple joys of making banana bread. She called it Banana Bread Therapy. That sounds right to me.
I should add Sarah is also a talented and wise writer who offers her whole heart in writing about her own mental health and the struggles within her family in her two excellent books. She is committed to breaking the silence about mental illness and it is so inspiring.
Banana bread is a quick bread. It doesn’t need need any leavening and so it can simply bake after being folded together. It doesn’t need time to rise. There is no yeast to coax. It happens quickly and deliciously.
Banana bread is one of those wonderful comfort foods that so many of us share. It was the first recipe I really learned to make on my own with the guidance and encouragement of my stepmother. We both still use that recipe from my first cookbook geared for children. It was and is just that good.
I wonder what it would be like this week to invite people to share their favorite quick bread recipe. Perhaps zucchini bread is the best option for all that is bumping out of the garden or in other regions there might be a preference for cornbread. It may even include drying and grinding your own corn from the farmer’s harvest. How might we experience the Bread of Life come alive if we were to nurture our hearts and souls in something like Banana Bread Therapy?
Here is a prayer for such a possibility.
Prayer for Bread Making
Inspired by Sarah Griffith Lund and John 6: 35, 41-51 Stir us together, O God, in the simple act of making bread. Let our clothes and our counters be covered in flour. Let it clap from our hands so that it might feel like a part of who we are. I am the bread of life says our God. Let us meditate on this living surrounded by all of these ingredients that we so carefully fold into the batter with love and hope. There is joy in this bowl too as surely as there is a hint of grief and loss. This recipe has been shared so often that it too has life. Bake with us, O God, and make us ready for another slice of life together. Amen.
Here is one more prayer that might be a better fit within congregations that are struggling with the reversal of what was hoped for in the emergence of the delta variant. For the record, I have plenty of complaints of my own.
Prayer for Complaining Anyway
Inspired by John 6: 35, 41-51 Do not complain among yourselves. Do not complain is the wisdom that the Lord gives when we have so many complaints to air. It is a long list to worries and concerns as the delta variant makes us pause again to consider how best to care for ourselves, for our children and our neighbors. We have complaints and we know that God is listening. We are not being told to be silent but are invited to learn from God. As it is written in the prophets, we could choose to be taught be God and it is this understanding we need now. O Lord, teach us now. Teach us especially through all our complaining. May it be so.
Two week ago, when these bread words first appeared in the Revised Common Lectionary, I shared this Prayer of Illumination. It could be used with these prayers or in your personal devotion and study.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. I’m praying for you, dear pastor. I’m praying for you so much.