7 October 2023

Baked with love

Stephanie Hope

A photo shows contestants from The Great British Bake Off. Picture: Channel 4 / Love Productions / Mark Bourdillon
Josh, Nicky, Amos, Cristy, Dana, Rowan, Saku, Matty, Tasha, Abbi, Keith and Dan | Picture: Channel 4 / Love Productions / Mark Bourdillon

As viewers tune in to the new season of Bake Off, Stephanie Hope considers how God made us.

The latest season of The Great British Bake Off has begun! Every Tuesday at 8pm, millions of people will be watching Channel 4 with bated bread to see whose flavours, decorations and technical skills win out and take them through to the next round.

It strikes me that the bakers, in some ways, display many of the skills that God demonstrates as the Creator, Preserver and Governor of all things. Just as they use their hands to craft intricate flavours and beautiful decorations, God builds us, shapes us and moulds us into his treasured masterpieces, spending care and attention on making our ins and our outs and knowing our recipes by heart.

As a baker, I’m well aware that if a recipe isn’t exactly right it will likely come out wonky or – heaven forbid – with a soggy bottom! That’s why I thank God that the recipe for my life was perfectly written by the ultimate Star Baker of the universe.

However, just as the creations of Bake Off’s contestants may feel unfairly judged by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, we can sometimes feel that God’s baking – us – is being criticised, or even rejected, by a judgemental society. We might not fulfil the ‘right’ criteria. Or we might not look perfect. We might feel like we’re in our own bake off every day of our lives, constantly battling to feel accepted and receive that legendary handshake from someone whose opinion apparently matters most.

But, through the harshest rejection and criticism, Psalm 139 reminds us that ‘it was [God] who created my inward parts; [who] knit me together in my mother’s womb… I have been remarkably and wondrously made’ (vv13 and 14 Christian Standard Bible). How much easier it is to love God and love others if, instead of dealing out judgement, we remember to see each other as God’s remarkable and wondrous creations!

Even better, our true judge isn’t some outsider who thinks they know best, but our very own Maker, who made us with love and is shaping us to exact specifications! I am loved. You are loved! This means I don’t need to fear not being perfect all the time, because I have a Baker and, through his grace, he calls me his own.

Reflect and respond

  • Read Psalm 139. Consider how intimately God knows your body, mind and spirit.
  • What parts of you that society rejects might God accept?
  • Listen to ‘He Knows My Name’ by Paul Baloche or reflect on the lyrics below. How close do you feel to your Maker?

I have a Maker
He formed my heart,
Before even time began
My life was in his hands.

He knows my name.
He knows my every thought.
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call.

Written by

A photo of Stephanie Hope.

Stephanie Hope

Upper Norwood

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