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Speaking to the Soul: Ezekiel Bread

Speaking to the Soul: Ezekiel Bread

7 Easter, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 89:1-18 (morning) // 89:19-52 (evening)

Ezekiel 4:1-17

Hebrews 6:1-12

Luke 9:51-62

There is a line of commercially-available bread products based on a verse 9 of today’s first reading: “take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread for yourself.” But so-called Ezekiel Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Bread leaves out one important detail of the recipe that occurs a few verses later: “You shall eat it as a barley cake, baking it in their sight on human dung.” I don’t think this method of preparation would meet FDA regulations.

Granted, God makes a concession to Ezekiel and permits the prophet to prepare the bread on dried cow dung instead of human. Yet, there remains something misleading about marketing Ezekiel Bread as “Food for Life,” emphasizing its extraordinary health benefits. In Biblical context, this bread was meant to be a punishment.

The coarse bread cobbled together from multiple grains was a sign of suffering and famine. Cooking it by using dry dung as fuel was a sign of defilement. And Ezekiel is ordered to consume this bread in the course of bearing the punishments that God seemed to intend toward his people as they found themselves under siege.

Then again, maybe this bread is a source of life after all. In fact, maybe the ingredients list is God’s way of offering the prophet and his people life in the midst of violence, oppression, and starvation. This episode wouldn’t be the first time when people misinterpreted their sufferings as punishments from God. Perhaps God does offer us something we need: full of protein and fiber, free of sugar and refined flour, rich in easily-absorbed vitamins. How is God offering to nourish us, sustain us, and fill us with life today?

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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Josh Dollins

Very interesting story thanks for sharing!

Please post using your first and last names. – eds

Ann Fontaine

Interesting – I have seen that bread in the grocery store but did not know the Bible story. Dung does make a hot fire. We fired pottery at camp one year using cattle dung – cow patties – piled up over our clay items. I think to cook bread one would have to pile it over the top to make an oven.

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