A Little Leaven

August 1, 2019 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment


leaven

Matthew 13:33

He told them still another parable: “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.”

Way back at the beginning of June, my sourdough starter was carefully tucked into the freezer to await our return from a long road trip. By the time we got back, we had:

  • traveled across five northern states, into Ontario and Quebec;
  • unexpectedly met up with old friends Murray and Sue at Grand Coulee Dam and spent a couple of hours reconnecting and learning about new adventures and challenges;
  • spent an amazing evening of deep soul talk with our former pastor John and his wife Marg.  John and Marg now live in New Brunswick; we live in British Columbia (a whole continent away). But, God knew I needed John’s wise counsel for challenges in our ministry, and that all of us needed a safe place to speak from our hearts and to pray together. So, He brought us together in a Walmart parking lot (in North Bay Ontario, of all places!), crowded around our RV’s little table sharing a very potluck dinner.

    croziers

    Frank, Kim, John and Marg

  • helped with the final packing and sorting as our son JD, daughter-in-law Bre-Anne and four precious grandchildren (plus two dogs and a cat) cleared out their Quebec home ready to move overseas to London.
  • said “goodbye” to them and to many of the wonderful people who have been their friends, chosen family, and support network in the life they built in Quebec.
  • wandered our way along the St. Laurence River through Ontario.
  • attended an extraordinary evening church service in Brockville Ontario, at Wall Street United where their Pastor Kim so clearly demonstrated what it is to shepherd the people God has given her in response to the Spirit’s guidance. My heart was so touched as each speaker began by saying “Hi, my name is…..and I am believer.”
  • checked in to attend our denominational conference, hoping  we would be able to find common ground and allies in our ministry.
  • discovered our attempt to find a way past differences of political opinion, and problems with governance was dismissed by the national pastor and board of directors. Instead of working toward unity, our little church was disfellowshipped by the denomination’s leadership.
  • headed for home, deeply saddened and shaken by the lack of compassion for us and for those with whom we minister. It was a very long and weary trip as we tried to make sense of this unexpected ending after years of supporting our national church with prayers, encouragement and substantial financial contributions.

Back home, I pulled the starter out of the freezer in the middle of July and thawed it for a couple of days, watching anxiously for the first signs of bubbling that show that the natural yeast is at work. Once it was happy and active, I mixed the starter with flour and water, kneaded the dough and waited patiently for it to rise.

As I worked, I mentally replayed the events of the last month. Looking back, I see the little bits of Godlight “leavening” the heaviness of a difficult time: warm friendship in an unexpected place; meaningful conversation and an example of how godly men and women speak into one another’s souls; ministry that recognizes all of us are journeying together. All along the way, God gave moments of grace to strengthen my commitment and resolve to minister as He calls us.

Interesting that we can choose how leaven works in our lives (and in our bread.) If sourdough goes “off”, nothing will make it right. Sometimes starter gets tainted with a bad “catch”…it smells gross and truly sour, not clean and tangy. I once made the mistake of trying to carry on with a tainted starter, and discovered that the resulting loaf, while risen enough, tasted horrible. There was nothing for it but to throw it all out and start over. So, as Paul says, in his letter to the Galatians “a little yeast leavens the whole lump.” A little legalism; a little “follow the rules instead of the Spirit”; a little gossip; a little backbiting; a little anger and bitterness: any of it mixes into the whole church and makes an unpalatable and unwholesome mess. Sometimes, there’s nothing to do but recognize the failure and begin again.

But, like my healthy sourdough, a little bit of Kingdom leaven can also work to make something wonderful, fragrant and nourishing. Just as my little bit of sourdough made these beautiful loaves; so love, grace, truth, mercy make something lovely in our churches. Heavenly, indeed.

Love and grace

Pastor Kim

Entry filed under: Life along the way.

Precious Snowflakes Darkness and Light

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