Letter To Our Children

by Pastor Joe | March 20, 2024 | Letters To Our Children


March 20, 2024

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit.” When He had said this, He breathed His last.

Luke 23:46


Hello friends,


Are you hungry? Hot Cross Buns are to die for. At a certain time in history, that was actually almost true.


A Little Bit of History


The earliest recipe for Hot Cross Buns contained milk, flour, yeast, butter, and eggs mixed with sugar, certain spices, and dried fruits. The buns were named Alban Buns because they were made at St. Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire, England, by Brother Thomas Rocliffe, the creator of the bun, in 1361.


Rocliffe's final step in making these buns was to place the image of a cross with unbaked dough on the top. In his book, 12 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Easter, Bob Lepine writes that the buns were to feed the poor on Good Friday—the Friday before Easter. The buns are still sold at St. Albans Abbey to this day.


Because of the sign of the cross on the top of the bun in the time and place in human history, the popularity of the buns spread throughout the United Kingdom and beyond. Superstitions ran wild. Some people believed the buns could cure sickness and disease. Some people thought they would bring the eater good luck. It was said that if you bought the Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday, they would never go stale and always taste fresh. (In my childhood, the same thing was said about rainwater collected on Good Friday.) To protect homes from evil spirits, people would hang the buns from the rafters of their homes, and sharing your Hot Cross Buns with a friend guaranteed a healthy friendship for the coming year.


Enough is Enough


Queen Elizabeth I had enough of this. She would soon pass a law limiting the sale of Hot Cross Buns to Christmas, Good Fridays, and Funerals. People, being people, got around this by making slight changes to the recipe and renaming the Alban Bun to the Hot Cross Buns that we know today.

In time, the Queen ended the ban on buns after realizing it was nearly impossible to enforce. But even the Queen understood the symbolic nature of the cross on the Bun.


The Cross on the Bun


Symbols hold a certain level of value in society. The symbol of the cross, while only sometimes on the same wavelength for everyone, is still one such symbol.


When baked on Good Friday, seeing the cross on the bun reminded the Queen, baker, and eater of how Jesus was put to death. The common practice of Rome was the condemned person to be nailed to a cross by soldiers (Matthew 27:35).


The smell of spices would remind the baker and eater of the embalming method that prepared Jesus for His burial (John 19:38-40)—the yeast that makes dough rise, reminding them that Jesus rose from the dead (Matthew 28:6).


People have asked the question, why did Christ have to die? The answer at its root is simple- Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). It’s what makes Christianity different than all other religions and philosophies. Good Friday points this out in spades.


On Good Friday, March 29, at 6:30 PM, as a church, we will reflect on the death of Jesus. I am looking forward to that day and hope to see you.



God bless you in all things, great and small.

Pastor Joe

P.S. As a child, my wife's grandmother's neighbor made Hot Cross Buns with an open-door policy so the neighborhood could enjoy the treat.