Let It Rise

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I love bread-baking. I think it’s the simple act of creation: watching a messy pile of flour, liquid, salt, and yeast meld together and then rise, a little miracle in and of itself.

Rising Bread in Bowl
source: torontorob

My first memory of bread-baking is from the mid-90s, when my mother bought into the bread machine craze. She would make a Hawaiian bread, flecked with pineapple and singing with almond extract, that smelled so amazing when it rose we didn’t care that half the time it hit the lid of the machine and fell.

One of my greatest pleasures in being a stay-at-home mom is having the lengths of time it takes to make foods like bread or homemade broths. I may have attempted a loaf here and there when I worked, but not with any regularity. Not enough time to be close to it, carefully evaluating: has it risen enough? do I have time to let it rise AND bake?

Yeast can be a tricky substance, though. If your liquid is too hot, it kills the power of the yeast. If it’s not warm, the yeast might not react.

One of Jesus’ shortest parables is about yeast. Matthew 6:33 says, “He told them still another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty poundsof flour until it worked all through the dough.’ ”

That’s it. The whole parable.

I think it was just assumed that the people He spoke to knew how yeast worked. Bread was probably part of their daily diet; bread-making as familiar as it was in the early 20th century in America.

In a big bowl of flour, yeast is just some tiny granules, a miniscule percentage of the whole. And yet without it, we get flat bread. Make the yeast angry and you’ve got a clump of useless dough. It might look OK. Sure, the dough didn’t get quite as puffy as it should. But maybe it will bake right anyway!


The image of the kingdom of God being stirred into a giant vat of flour is beautiful to me. We are in a giant world with billions of people. What can we possibly do to change the world for Christ?

But just like yeast, we … no, not we. The Word of God, the Spirit IN us is so powerful that it can affect everything around us. If we empty ourselves out and let Jesus live through us, we can show others how to rise.

That’s why I feel like it’s a miracle each time I make bread.


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