33 Jesus told them still another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bushel of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.” (Matthew 13:33)
Ever since I was a child I have loved making bread. There has been something very special about combining very simple ingredients, making a sticky gooey mess, and using your hands to knead it an work it into a smooth elastic dough. Leave it in a warm place for ½ hour and it doubles in size. And then you shape it and pop it in the oven. And then there is the wonderful aroma that apparently sells houses. I was talking to a fellow breadmaking enthusiast today and she said, “every time I make bread, a miracle happens!”
There is one active ingredient: yeast. Just 1 teaspoon, when combined fully into the flour, has the power to transform the dough into something wonderful.
Recently I have started to use the bread making process to pray. I am not an expert prayer, nor am I an expert bread-maker. But last night a group of us went on a journey together to make bread, and pray at the same time. We thought of a person or situation that we wanted to pray for. And we combined flour, salt, water and yeast together. There was a point when it was chaos as each of us had a sticky gooey mess. But gradually as we all wrestled with and punched the dough, it became a prayer. A hardworking tough prayer, but a prayer nonetheless.
We put our bread in bowls and waited for them to rise, and to everyone’s delight, they rose! We shaped them into symbols which represented our prayers and our faith. And then baked them.
Yesterday I made a loaf and it was only when nearly all the water was added, I remembered I hadn’t put the yeast in! I put it in with the rest of the water and hoped for the best. The results were a bit of a disaster. It struck me that yeast, is very powerful, even though the amount you use is tiny. But if it’s not fully integrated throughout the dough, the loaf ends up bulgy and lumpy.
Let’s imagine for a minute that we are the yeast. Do we decide to stay in the tin/sachet? Or do we mix ourselves with flour (amid the world’s injustice) and allow that transformation to happen? Bishop Laurie Green says,
“They say faith is personal – not to be let out of the bottle. But with Jesus, though small in number, working alongside the troubled & heavy-laden, we see his transforming Kingdom come ‘on earth as in Heaven!’”
Here is a picture of the bread made by our “star baker” last night. Just one of many examples of how a sticky mess was transformed into something beautiful yesterday evening.
Lets ask God how we might be transformed by his divine yeast today, as we place ourselves and our world into the hands of the Divine Breadmaker. And let’s also think about how we can, with His help, be the yeast in our society today.