More than a year had gone by since Lois survived chemotherapy and with the cancer in remission, her strength returned along with some silver hair and the plump, jolly face familiar to friends and family.
Eunice poured two cups of tea to share with her friend Lois while they took a break from bread-making, the dough rising in a warm place on the stove. They had volunteered to make fresh loaves of bread for communion at church on Sunday morning.
Lois, inspired with an idea, interrupted the silence while Eunice placed a plate of cookies on the table. “Since we’re making bread for Pentecost let’s read the story from the Bible while we have our tea.”
“Good idea.” Eunice quickly retrieved her Bible and began reading from Acts, chapter two.
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’…They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved…”
Eunice thought of a book she had been reading recently about the feasts of Israel. “Something interesting I’ll share with you Lois…”
Quickly, she took a sip of tea keeping Lois in suspense. “Pentecost is also called Shavuot, Feast of Weeks in Judaism. Originally, a festival to celebrate the wheat harvest. After the Passover Sabbath the priest brought a sheaf of wheat as a wave offering to the Lord, announcing the beginning, the first fruit of the harvest.
“Fifty days later, Pentecost, the priest brought another first fruits offering, according to Leviticus 23, it was two loaves of bread with leaven as a wave offering before the Lord.”
Lois, always full of good humor that overflowed in her voice, said, “Isn’t that funny. We’re making two loaves of bread.”
Eunice’s eyes sparkled with a smile. “In this book, oh let me get it and read it to you…”
Lois sipped tea and nibbled on a cookie while Eunice went to get the book. After Eunice read from the book, she then explained the first sheaf of wheat is symbolic of Christ who rose from the dead after the Passover, he is the first fruit of the Resurrection. And then the two loaves of leavened bread offered fifty days later (Pentecost) are symbolic of the birthday of the Church and the visible sign of the Holy Spirit pouring out on both Jewish and Gentile believers.
Leaven, symbolic of sin, speaks of sin still existing in the church even though there is forgiveness of sin by faith in the Savior. But unleavened bread had to be used at Passover, symbolic of our sinless Passover Lamb, Messiah Jesus.
Communion in the church is observed as a memorial of the death of Messiah, who provided atonement for sin, while we look for the appearing of our Lord, and the resurrection and transformation to our new glorious sinless body.
While Eunice cleared away dishes from the table, Lois quickly looked through the book Eunice had read from. “Thank you. I imagine communion on Sunday will be so much more meaningful for knowing this.”
Solemnly, Eunice nodded while thinking ahead to organize the task at hand. “Now we need to finish up with the bread dough for baking and then we can have a time of prayer.”
Lois washed her hands at the sink and then laughed like a little child. “May I punch down the dough?”
After handing the bowl to Lois, Eunice began applauding upon seeing Lois punch a fist down into the mound of risen dough then both laughed at their silliness.
While Lois patted together the dough, then cut it evenly into two, Eunice floured a board for kneading. Lois lightly kneaded the two pieces of dough then shaped them into loaves.
While Eunice oiled two loaf pans a thought came to mind. “You know, when I saw you punch down the dough, it reminded me of long ago when the church got punched back, so to speak.”
Eunice explained further after seeing a puzzled look on Lois’ face. “I’m thinking of the Middle Ages and sin rising up in the church, when popes were given great authority like kings, then the horrible evil crusades and then came the Reformation when Protestants separated from the Roman Catholic Church forming two loaves rising, so to speak.”
A gleam of understanding shone through Lois’ eyes in recognition of her friend’s thoughts as she echoed her own thoughts. “Two loaves rising. Well now that’s interesting to think about.”
With a serious faraway look Lois went on. “Makes me tremble at the thought…thinking of the book of Revelation and our Lord’s warnings to the church.” Then she smiled again, “But what do I know. I’m just a silly old, sinful woman, saved by faith in God my Savior.”
Eunice lovingly encouraged her friend. “Reminds me of one of my favorite Psalms.”
“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, like a little child, like a little child in its mother’s lap…” Psalm 131.
Lois glowed with joy. “Let’s do that. While these two loaves rise again, let’s climb up into our Father God’s lap and pray, ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’”
Pentecost is observed by the church this year on May 28, 2023.
What is Pentecost, Dr. Ray Pritchard, Christianity.com. https://www.christianity.com/jesus/early-church-history/pentecost/where-did-pentecost-come-from.html
Buksbazen, Victor. The Gospel in the Feasts of Israel. The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. 1954. 2004. Pentecost—Feast of Weeks. Pages 21-24. The author discusses the birthday of Judaism and the birthday of the Church occurring on Shavuot/Pentecost and the symbolism of the first fruits offerings at Passover and at Pentecost.
Levy, David M. The Tabernacle: Shadows of the Messiah. The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. 1993. The Meal Offering. Page 121. The author explains that sacrifices and offerings were always without leaven because leaven is symbolic of sin. However, the wave offering with the two loaves of leavened bread was a thanksgiving offering, symbolic of the church, existing with sin, but peace with God through the atoning sacrifice (Messiah).
Amish White Bread (two loaves) https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/6788/amish-white-bread/
Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
This story is a fictionalization. Although, historical events, people and places are used fictitiously, details of the time period have been portrayed as accurately as possible for authenticity. All characters are fictional unless otherwise noted. If an actual historical person is mentioned an endnote with citation will be included.