At this very moment it is dark outside and snow is sprinkling down. Soft white flakes that glisten and sparkle when the porch light hits them. I just set the bread to rise for supper. One loaf will be for tomorrow and another is a cheesy garlic onion concoction that will be eaten this evening with spaghetti squash casserole.
This afternoon, as I mixed the batch of bread dough, I was lost in thought. I remember a time when I could only get the bread to turn out when I followed the recipe perfectly. Measuring. Careful counting. How hot was the water supposed to be again? I would yell questions to my Papa as he sat in the living room reading.
Then over time, it changed. I knew the texture of bread. I knew the amount of yeast per cup of flour. I experimented with all kinds of interesting ingredients. Lentils. Kidney beans. Sprouts. White whole wheat. Fresh ground wheat. Spelt. Soaked grains. This and that made its way into my bread. I never followed a recipe because I didn’t need one.
I could tell by the smell, by the feel of it- if it was going to turn out. Sometimes I would be kneading and realize, It’s not going to rise. And my plans would change. Pizza for dinner.
After I got married, I listened to my husband as he sampled each loaf. He likes the kind with a quarter cup of honey instead of two tablespoons. He doesn’t mind the lentils or kidney beans but despises the millet. (Of course, he doesn’t know what each thing is. I never tell anyone who is eating my bread that there are kidney beans in there!)
There is something earthy about making bread. The realization that people have been doing this for centuries. The closeness to the Biblical accounts about bread and yeast.
The kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed into
about sixty pounds of flour
until it worked all through the dough.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast… What a concept! I want to know Jesus and His kingdom the way that I know bread. When I touch life, I want to know what’s missing, what’s needed—what the point is. Most of all, I want to be the good yeast. The part that makes things rise and grow and be more of what God created them to be.
Jesus also spoke many times about “watching” for the yeast of the Pharisees. Just a little bit affects a lot. Words and actions that are contrary to God’s truth can spread just as quickly and work their way into and around—making a sorry mess out of things that are meant to be beautiful.
As I was kneading the bread, turning, working, pounding—I was also praying. Asking God to put His kingdom inside me. So that when I affect things around me (for I will) my gift is more of His Kingdom, more of His truth. Oh, God. Keep me from the lies. Pour truth into me and through me and let my life reflect You.
Then Jesus declared,“I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”