Going Sour

A traditional way of making bread is the sourdough method: a piece of the last dough you made is kept aside to ferment (keeping the yeast alive) and is then folded into the next batch that you mix. It spreads its way through the bread and makes it rise. In turn, a piece of this mix is broken off and held back before baking so it can be used as a ‘starter’ for a future loaf. This can lead to a tasty everyday staple enjoyed allover the world to this day.

A traditional way of stirring up trouble is the sourdough method: where a piece of the last calamity, or trauma or conflict is kept aside to ferment (keeping the resentment alive) and is folded into the next batch. It makes its way through the whole situation and causes the whole thing to rise and blow out of proportion. In turn, a piece of this sorry mess is broken off and held back before the end so it can be used as a ‘starter’ for someone wanting to start something in the future. This can lead to everyday misery and sectarian hostility suffered allover the world to this day.

In 1 Corinthians Paul uses a mix of the mundane everyday and special religious (home baking and Passover ritual) to demonstrate how ignoring that one problem, nursing that one grudge, avoiding that one awkward confrontation can start small but then fester and become distorted with bitterness and work its way into everything and make a bad situation rise and rise horrifically out of proportion.

 

Dear God,

If only more of the tension in our world was unleavened 

conflict underworked

temperatures allowed to fall.

We pray that war and exploitation be 

unleavened, under-leveraged and under funded.

Dampen the rising agents,

the stirrers,

the meddlers,

help us start relationships from scratch

and let go of the bitterness,

that little bit of anger that we hold on to while letting go of the rest,

that we don’t want to release…

Release us from it!

So we can break bread with our neighbours.

Amen.

1 Corinthians 5: 6-8

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 
Comments

By Melville Crosthwaite, 3 months ago

Thank you James.  I found this particularly helpful this morning.

By Brian Boardman, 3 months ago

James, thank you for an excellent take on this Corinthians passage, I have never really thought of it this way before; just goes to show we can read a passage many times until one day it “clicks”. Also makes me meditate on Jesus words ” I came to do the Fathers will , not my own”. Surely we ferment the dough with our own selfish desires and prejudices.  Blessings






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