Yesterday I heard a wonderfully entertaining and inspiring sermon. The theme was bread, as in Jesus the bread of life, but when the service was over I wanted cherry cheese Danish, empanadas and other assorted yummy things. Why? Because the visiting pastor went to great lengths to tell us about a small café in Vermont called Rainbow Sweets Bakery.
Apparently it’s on a back road somewhere and there’s nothing at all to draw the average meandering traveler, as were the pastor and his wife, to the door. No fancy signs, no recommendations from friends, and window shades drawn against the sun. What they did have, however, was grumbling stomachs and that wee bit of hope that the place might have more than packaged bagels and bitter coffee among it’s offerings. But in a town with a population of less than 300 what were the odds? They stopped and took a chance anyway.
When I got home I Googled the bakery and was enlightened. If Pastor Chuck had known the reputation of the place he would have had the GPS set for it big time. It would have been a destination instead of a ‘happened upon.’
In my search I found a link to a review of the Rainbow Sweets Bakery from The New York Times. Written in 1994 it was nearly as glowing as the description in the sermon. People who have sampled their wares are converted. They tell their friends. They call ahead if they’re bringing out of town company with them, reserving extra cherry cheese Danish because it’s so good it’s all gone 45 minutes out of the oven.
And then I got to thinking about bread. Great golden loaves, fresh baked and waiting. Loaves like the ones I wrote about here a few weeks ago with the recipe included. During Lent this year I baked two loaves a week keeping one and giving the other away. I delivered six in all and no one turned me down. Unlike what happened and still happens to Jesus. He’s a warm, nourishing presence, bursting with abundant life and only wanting to share it with us. But some push away from the table. They won’t even sample the wares and it baffles me. I want to drag them to that table and say, “Look, there’s good stuff here! Just try it!”
Pastor Chuck told us that the owner of the bakery, Mr. Tecosky, considers himself to be a "beacon of light in the gastronomic wilderness." The man gives every customer a hearty welcome and detailed, mouth watering descriptions of his food. His empanadas, for example, are baked in the oven so the flavors marry instead of sitting on the stovetop and only kissing. It made us smile and want to go there.
But there are other spots in the wilderness much darker and more dangerous than on the back roads of Vermont. For some it probably seems like there are no “Surprise – Great bakery ahead!” signs on the road. They're wrong.
The point is, we all get hungry in one way or another and stumble around looking for food. And perhaps a grumbling stomach eclipses a grumbling soul most of the time. But unlike the Rainbow Sweets Bakery, you won’t have to reserve the Bread and it won’t run out in 45 minutes when, upon your wilderness road, you come to the house of the Lord. There the bread never runs out and there’s a greeting that outshines that of Mr. Tecosky. Really.
Okay, I’m being a bit preachy here, I know. But when you hear a good sermon and understand what good bread really is . . . you just want to share it. Ya know?
Thanks Pastor Chuck Schwartz. You and Jesus Rock!
PS: I understand the bread at the bakery is very good, too.
Image: Boaz Yiftach Free Digital Photos