by Tim Patterson
PLYMOUTH, MI – The urge hit me again today. You know, one of those cravings that seem to take control of all your senses, and make them focus on that one “desire”. I am told that pregnant women have these cravings and some of them are most unusual. Well, I’m not pregnant and that for which I crave is not very unusual, that is, if you were born and reared in Texas.
I have in recent months been on a diet to get rid of some of the blessings of the “lard.” To do so I have limited my intake of anything Mexican. Now I have a hankerin’ for some good ol’ TEX-MEX food. Like an addict aching for his fix, I’m in desperate need of a tamale and tortilla injection via my mouth. A little bowl of salsa and fried corn tortilla chips wouldn’t hurt either. There is nothing quite like fresh tamales and tortillas. If all you have ever had are the "store bought" kinds of these Mexican delicacies, then you are greatly lacking in one of the great experiences of life. Suffice it to say, there is nothing like the original.
One of the reasons I believe that tamales and tortillas are such wonderful delights is that the art of their preparation has been perfected. My friend, no one can make a tortilla like a little Mexican lady from the border of Texas and Mexico. These things that we buy packaged in plastic in the grocery store are mere facsimiles of the originals. Their taste and texture more resemble that of bleached cardboard than that of this heavenly bread.
Of course, I am not slighting the bread that our ladies make here in the Northern regions of our nation. In fact, since moving up here where popsicles feel at home, I have partaken in some of the finest breads, pastries and cinnamon rolls this side of heaven. Although they should spell cinnamon with an "s" instead of a "c". I have noticed that no matter where I go there is one universal food that appears at almost every meal, and that is bread. Tortillas, rolls, loaves, biscuits, toast, buns and all of these come in assorted shapes, sizes and colors. Their textures and tastes are as varied as the people who make them but nonetheless, all over the world, bread is universal. How it is prepared and presented takes on hundreds of thousands of styles and forms.
The Word of God tells us that Jesus is the Bread of Life. Everyone needs bread and everyone needs Jesus. Our heavenly Father wants us to be about the business of making sure that the Bread of Life is offered to all who need it and I have found that the methods, means and style of delivery are as varied as the people and the breads of the world.
It could be that some in the South might say that, "the bread of life can only be in biscuit form". Or those in South Texas must serve the Bread of Life like a tortilla. Even those in France could proclaim that only a hard-crusty loaf will do in the proper presentation of Jesus. I have even heard of bread stores (churches) in the same town, on the same street argue that if you do not use a certain amount of flour, and if it is not cooked at 350 degrees for exactly one hour and dipped in a certain kind of butter, then it is not bread. In other words, if it is not done our way then it is not true bread!
No matter where I go in this world I have found that people have bread. How they prepare, serve, and present it will differ. But the fact remains, it is bread and we all need it. Bread is bread and Jesus is Jesus. That will never change. The world is hungry and we don't have time to debate about style and texture. The world is hungry and starving for the Bread of Life. Let's get busy baking. Anyone for a tortilla?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.