Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The "Yeast" of These . . .
1 Corinthians 5:6
Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?
Many years ago, while browsing in a book store, I came across a thin paperback entitled "The Cornell Bread Book". Coincidentally, I had been contemplating baking homemade bread as my children, then in elementary school, were "bread-a-holics" and I wanted them to have a more nutritious alternative. That day, I hit the jackpot!
Cornell bread was developed at that university by Dr. Clive McCay, a nutritional researcher, whose initial goal was to create a healthier bread for consumption by the elderly in nursing homes. When laboratory rats were fed the Cornell bread, they far surpassed their Wonder Bread eating counterparts in size, weight, and energy. The secret ingredients not found in the usual bread? Non-fat dry milk, soy flour, and wheat germ.
Aside from its obvious health benefits, I loved the Cornell recipe because it allowed me to make three loaves at a time, a huge benefit for any working mom. What amazed me the most, though, was how little yeast was required to grow and expand the dough - only two tablespoons or two packages did the trick! Through kneading, shaping, punching down, rising again, separating, rising again, making the loaves, rising again, the yeast never ceased to enlarge the dough as it grew and grew and grew until the bread was oven-ready.
In today's scripture, Paul is cautioning the Corinthians against the yeast of evil and malice. He knows that it only takes a miniscule amount injected into a community to burgeon into a monstrosity, destroying the foundation that he and others so meticulously and lovingly placed among them. Isn't that true for us today? One unkind thought, one careless word, are like two tablespoons of yeast in three loaves of bread; they have the potential to grow within us, overtaking all the good intentions we have toward others and all the work we long to do in Christ's name.
Will you pray with me? Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son, the bread of life, into this world to save and redeem us. Let the yeast working in our lives be filled with love, forgiveness, and grace, helping us to grow in all righteousness and allowing us to spread the good news to those who hunger and thirst for you. Knead us, shape us, into the mold of good works you have prepared for us to walk in. In Jesus' name, amen.
Psalms 78:1-39 or 78:40-72
2 Kings 5:19-27
1 Corinthians 5:1-8
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