Lammas – Gŵyl Awst

Today we celebrate ‘Lammas’. It marks the beginning of Harvest, traditionally the wheat harvest.  Lammas means Loaf Mass.  At the beginning of the harvest the workers would gather, bake a loaf of bread with the first cut of the harvest and offer it at the Mass as a thanksgiving for the years growth. It was an offering to God of the first cut of the harvest in recognition of God’s provision.  However we see it, it is still good to bake a loaf and share it, giving thanks for the Bread for Today.  So that’s what we did yesterday. Among friends and gathered around an open fire we took a simple bread dough wrapped it around a stick and baked it over the flames. Watching the dough rise and cook in the fire we told each other stories about bread. Bread for today, the bread that sustains us and the bread of life.  The story of the Israelites receiving manna in the desert, bread from heaven, bread, just for today tested them.  Were they willing to put their faith in God?  Would they gather more than a day’s bread?  There are many lessons here about taking our daily share and leaving the rest for others, a lesson I rather feel we’ve often overlooked with supermarket shelves packed full – perhaps the shelves being less than full these past months might begin to teach something about abundance.  At Lammas, we take a simple loaf of bread to ask a blessing and say – today I am okay.  Let tomorrow worry about itself.  The Bread of life for today.  If we are willing to accept it, then it means giving up all of our needs and wants into God’s hands and living a strangely simple life.  Live simply so that others may simply live.  Jesus says that those who follow in his path will never hunger nor thirst.  I believe that means more than hungry for food.  Jesus reprimands those who follow him after eating the loaves and fishes.  This is not what he means at all – no wonder we see Jesus take himself away from the crowds before and after these encounters.  Even when the people experience God they don’t understand it, they just remember being fed.   We share more than just a piece of bread when we gather, we share bread broken, symbolic of the brokenness of our lives and the life of Jesus broken for the life of the world. Unless the bread is broken it cannot be shared. As we gather we share in each others brokenness and slowly we can be made whole once again. As Richard Rohr says “We live in a finite world where everything is dying, shedding its strength. This is hard to accept, and all our lives we look for exceptions to it. We look for something certain, strong, undying, and infinite. Religion tells us that the “something” for which we search is God. But many of us envisioned God as strong, complete, and all-powerful—a God removed from suffering. In Jesus, God comes along to show us: “Even I suffer. Even I participate in the finiteness of this world.””1 We can have the life abundant if we are willing to refocus ourselves onto the path that Jesus trod. Yesterday we baked a small loaf over an open fire to remind us of the Bread for today.  Here we will remember God’s blessings given through Jesus as we partake of the Eucharist bread, broken for the life of the world. Later, at Llanrhychwyn We’ll share bread for the journey – bread for today, the bread of life that sustains us.

1- Richard Rohr daily meditations for 1st Aug 2021

Sparkly eyes and a button nose

Finally I see them
and wonder how could I not
as you ask after me.
There were others in the room of course
but only one with colourful hat in
contrast to the anonymous green you wear
your smile behind the mask and laugh
with me as you inject my arm.
The sparkling eyes and button nose
were all I saw till later when
we met both changed and then I see them
and wonder how I could not recognise
that which gave comfort as you ask after me.