Harvest Thanksgiving: the Bread of Heaven
The following equipment is useful for illustrating the first part of this talk, each item being kept out of sight until needed: loaf, bag of flour, saucer of wheat, ears of wheat (if possible with long stalks), and a saucer of growing wheat. This can be prepared by sowing wheat on wet blotting or kitchen paper in a saucer three weeks beforehand For the first few days it should be kept in the dark to hasten germination. Don’t forget to keep the paper wet!
Our daily bread
There is one kind of food which we all have in homes and which we usually eat every day, and that is bread. Without it, I don’t know how we would manage. Indeed bread is known as the staff of life.
So today we’re going to begin by seeing where it comes from. We will begin with the loaf which is sliced and used for making sandwiches or perhaps toasted. Well now, it doesn’t suddenly appear in the house by magic. Your mother or father get it from the corner shop or supermarket and they get it from the baker.
Let’s go round, then, to the baker. Bakers do not produce bread by magic either. First of all they have to make the dough and for that they must have flour, which they get from the miller. Here again there is no magic. The flour is made from wheat which is taken to the mill to be ground.
Millers get the wheat from farmers, so now we will go and have a look at them. They gather the wheat at harvest time, fields and fields of tall stalks crowned with golden ears, like those in my hand. But they didn’t start like that. A few months ago they had no ears at all, they were just green blades which came up first in the spring or autumn. But once again there was no magic about it. The farmers sowed the seed, like these grains of wheat in my hand. Before they sowed it, they had to do a lot of work in the fields, ploughing and harrowing and rolling. But one thing they did not do and could not do, and that was to make each single grain grow until it became an ear of wheat like this, containing perhaps 50 new grains.
Now, the seed grows because it is alive, and it will stay alive for several years if it is properly kept. If, for example, you store seeds in a jar and the seeds are not completely dry, they will go mouldy and will die. And the life of millions and millions of people depends on the fact that there is life hidden in a grain of wheat. And who put it there? You did not, nor did the baker, nor the miller, nor the farmer, nor anyone else on earth. It was God who puts life in the seed and makes it grow. So the food we eat day by day, including our bread, is God’s gift to us. We remember this every time we say the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread”.