Like Yeast

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

(Matthew 13:33,NRSV)

Yeast is a staple in my kitchen. Not the little packages found in the market’s baking goods aisle, but vacuum packed one pound bags purchased a few times a year and stored in the fridge after opening. On an average week, I use three tablespoons of it to make bread and at least a couple of teaspoons to make rolls or pizza dough. It has a distinct scent that’s hard to describe but instantly recognized by most people who’ve visited a bakery or bake themselves.

Whether I start the yeast in warm water by itself or add it directly into a flour/water/salt mixture, it doesn’t take long to see its effects. The dough grows, expanding out and up, adding volume and lowering the density evenly throughout. Add some time and heat, and yeast turns a heavy lump of flour into a bagel, baguette, focaccia, or doughnut – the staff of life or a fancier version of it.

Yeast plus yeast equals yeast; yeast plus flour equals something more than just those two things. Yeast isn’t really an addition in its own right: it’s a transforming element that infuses everything it touches, creating something light and sustaining, an everyday wonder of taste and texture.

Is that what the kingdom of heaven is? Not something added to the end of life, but something that’s mixed into its very grain? The kingdom of heaven an everyday wonder, light and sustaining – am I so blind that I can’t see this in others and in myself?

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Like Yeast”

  1. or do I receive the blessing (and curse) of a special set of eyes–those who have “eyes” let them see? I guess it’s that I lack the courage to see with the eyes of the Spirit–the veil comes in handy all too often.

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