digging deep

“We are tired of words; they are cheap and can be
heard almost anywhere.”

J. Heinrich Arnold in Discipleship: Living for Christ in the Daily Grind

There was, and could still be, a sandwich shop in Tralee called The Daily Grind. It was new so always busy, this happens until the next new thing appears. My daily grind looks a lot different now I am in Covid-19 times. Since last Wednesday I have been thinking about baking. I attempted it once but every day the kitchen tries to lure me into a baking frenzy. Malainda, in Belfast, as I was leaving was baking more and more – pretzels, cookies, muffins – anything to take away from the gnawing gap that was her study. Another person wanted to bake bread in much the same way that I, every day, sink my hands into the soil of our acre.

There is a need in all of us to go back to a time of comfort when the present is too uncomfortable. AThe prayer for this morning in the Daily Office was:

Give us grace to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth.

Book of Common Prayer

yeast does not change the structure of dough, the stretching and kneading of the flour and water composition does that. The yeast when given good nutrients will multiply until there is no more space for it to grow. Yeast can be a good thing in bread, but not so good when found on the top of a packet of ham like I found last week. It only spoils food so I washed it off and used the ham {I can see you recoiling at this}. Yeast can be a good thing: if there were no yeast in the world there would be no Marmite.

bread does not need bought yeast to thrive. Sourdough starters or bâtards are a mixture of bacteria, wild yeast, flour, water and salt. What all risen breads need is gluten or a chemical that will induce gluten properties. Gluten stretches and the more the dough is manipulated the more the gluten stretches. Different flours have different amounts of gluten in them. If you add some water to some flour into a paste and then rinse the paste under a tap. The gluten will remain as the rest of the paste is washed away. Gluten is a protein that is insoluble in water. but its remarkable stretching quality gives the chew to sourdough and the rising ability of any bread.

Yeast grows: yeast will grow exponentially unless it is stopped by a) introducing something that makes the environment unpleasant or b) it eats up all the food. Salt is the unpleasant thing for yeast.

In the bible yeast is seen as both a good and bad thing. In the hands of the Kingdom it is spreading the gospel throughout the world. In the wrong hands it is spreading malice and wickedness. Take gossip, for example, it gains traction not only by the amount of people who know but the character of those who know. On Sunday night I watched a legacy show of the broadcaster Gerry Ryan. And as I watched I pondered why did the country not know he used cocaine, when we know x, y and z all do or did? Why did the people who knew not gossip?

What held their tongues?

What holds my tongue?

What holds yours?

How do we be leaven in the world in a good way and not bring malice and wickedness to the world?

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:5-8 NIV