25 May 2024

Living with difference: We come in all sizes and shapes

Major Julian Watchorn

A photo shows a filled biscuit tin atop a vibrant blue fabric.

Ahead of National Biscuit Day, Major Julian Watchorn celebrates the diversity of God’s biscuit tin.

This Wednesday is National Biscuit Day (29 May). Although it may not have a huge impact on the national social consciousness, it does give us food for thought.

Ask any Brit for their favourite biscuit and you are likely to get a variety pack of answers. Depending on one’s palate, factors that can influence your preferred crunchy confection include texture, ingredients, flavouring, topping and filling. Are they suitable for dunking? Not all, but most would be my response.

Some feel that quality comes at a cost, preferring the more expensive varieties. Others see simplicity as key to perfection. For some, biscuits have a natural synergy with a hot drink – and, again, there would be a difference of opinion on whether that would be an Army cup of tea or a mug of coffee. Biscuits are often sweet but, for some people, savoury varieties are what tickle their tastebuds.

The history of the humble biscuit goes back centuries as the need to transport food that would last on journeys necessitated creative solutions. In those days the harder the biscuit, the longer they were thought to last. Incredibly, eating biscuits was recommended by doctors in the early 19th century as a ‘digestive’ – most health conditions were thought to relate to digestion and eating biscuits was promoted as staving off illness. I am not so sure that would be the case today.

Today, Britain is the world’s largest consumer of biscuits. According to McVitie’s in 2020, the average Brit buys about 500 biscuits per year. The enduring strength of the biscuit industry is in part testament to a willingness to encourage choice and welcome diversity. No two biscuits are the same. Their composition, their history and their taste will have been forged over time. That the family favourites are a collection of bestsellers speaks volumes for people’s propensity to celebrate diversity.

The Bible may be short on mentions of biscuits, but what it does not lack are references to the need to embrace the unique differences that we each bring to the overflowing biscuit tin of life. 1 Corinthians 12:12–27 reminds us that we are all part of the same body that is made up of many parts.

As Christians, it is important that we embrace the differences that there are between us and respect without prejudice the rights that we each have. Although by no means would I want to trivialise the challenges that difference means for some people within our society, we have the opportunity to choose to celebrate those differences. We each benefit from the richness that difference brings. Were biscuits still hard and brittle tack, very few of us would appreciate them. A willingness to adapt and embrace differences has contributed to the biscuit world’s ever-increasing myriad of tastes and flavours.

Reflect and respond

  • What type of biscuit are you drawn to?
  • ‘There should be no division in the body … its parts should have equal concern for each other’ (1 Corinthians 12:25). Are there biscuits you undervalue because they are not to your preference?
  • Reflect on Philippians 2:1–7. How Christlike are you in your relationships with others?

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Photo of Julian Watchorn.

Major Julian Watchorn


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