Earlier this year during Lent, I participated in a small group out of St. Margaret’s Anglican Church, which was focused on bread making as a spiritual discipline. Our leader for the sessions was Ryan Stoesz, a parishioner who is one of the bakers at Tall Grass Prairie Bakery at the Forks.
During the six weeks of Lent we learned about different styles of bread making along with learning how the practice of bread making can help to inform our spiritual disciplines. In doing this Ryan made references to several works that he had found helpful. One of these, and the one that made the most specific connections between bread making and spiritual practices was Gunilla Norris’s Becoming Bread: Embracing the Spiritual in the Everyday.
Becoming Bread is a small book, barely over 80 pages, yet it is packed with a great deal of wisdom. Laid out in a fashion that correlates with the making of bread, going from the entering into the kitchen to the sharing of bread with others, Norris asks hers readers to take time to reflect on all the steps that are involved in the baking of bread.
Throughout the book, each little section starts with a few prose paragraphs and continues with poetic reflections. This is one of the great strengths of the book. There aren’t a whole lot of in depth reflections. Instead there are a series of short thoughts that can be ingested savoured, and digested, much as you might do with a slice of good, solid bread.
At its heart, Becoming Bread is all about becoming. Quoting an old proverb, Norris states in the preface, “Bread like love must be made every day.” Like learning to make bread, learning to allow God to work in one’s live also must happen every day. Norris’s book, which contain suggestions at the back on how to use it in group or retreat sessions, is a very helpful guide in allowing this to happen.