Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sourdough Starter

Today I was "feeding" the "mother" that I'm making for some sourdough bread, the sourdough starter. This is the old fashioned kind...you know, that chewy, hearty sourdough bread that great-grandma would have made? This is a sourdough that is made without the quick-rise yeast you buy in the store. It is the simple, lasting kind where you just mix some flour and water and let it turn "sour"...or ferment. It pulls yeast spores out of the air and this is what allows the mother to ferment. Each day, you need to add a little more flour and a little more water and this feeds the yeast and allows it to do it's work. If the "mother" is not properly fed, it will spoil. However, if it is lovingly fed and nurtured each day, it will mature into the final product that makes "sourdough" the hearty, scrumptious bread that I am so looking forward to eating!

I got to thinking that this "mother" is not unlike us as believers. It dawned on me that our life in this time (meaning before our death) is much like the growing process that my "mother" must go through. The Lord lovingly creates us and cares for us just as we must feed and nuture for the "mother."

During this time of nuturing, a lot of yeast, necessarily, comes into our lives. In the Bible, yeast is often symbolic of the sin in our lives. We read, "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy," in Luke 12:1. Though this leaven is necessary to produce a mature person the same as the yeast is necessary to produce a mature mother, we must keep it in check or it will destroy us. If my sourdough "mother" is not properly fed, the yeast will devour and destroy the whole batch. In the same way, our sin will devour and destroy us.

During the Passover feast, we are not to eat leaven (Exodus 13:7) and that act is symbolic of putting off the sin in our lives. Jesus the Messiah is our Passover lamb and because of his sacrifice, we are made into a new person. In 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, Paul teaches us that glorying in our sin is not good and, "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even the Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." 1 John 3:4 teaches us that "sin is transgression of the law." If we have a repentant heart that we allow to change our actions and our lives, that makes us into a new lump of dough...a fresh, unspoiled "mother."

The leaven of sin is bad for our lives, however, there is a leaven that brings life. A yeast that is not properly fed will become consuming and destructive, just as it will destroy my sourdough "mother," but the leaven of the Messiah (the repentant heart that brings salvation through faith) produces a person of righteousness. Luke 13:20-21 says, "Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened." If this repentant person allows themselves to be properly fed through the Word of God and submission to the Holy Spirit, they will bring forth much fruit for the kingdom of God. This is a lovely "mother" that creates a mouthwatering, delightful loaf!

"And when they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, 'Then to the gentiles also hath God granted repentance unto life.'" --Acts 11:18

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