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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, April 16, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 Corinthians 5:6–8   

Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  (NRSV)

When I read St. Paul’s words about yeast, I am reminded of the years I worked with young children in a religious formation program. Jesus’ parables about the kingdom of God were a part of the core curriculum, and one of the favorites was the parable of the woman who uses a small amount of yeast to leaven three measures of flour. To meditate on what this parable tells us about God’s kingdom, at the beginning of the session we would mix a tablespoon of yeast with three measures of flour (and, of course, some warm water). Covering it, we set it aside until close to the end of the session when we removed the towel. The children’s eyes would widen with wonder as they observed the raised mound of dough. Then we would ask, “What does this tell us about the kingdom of God”?

St. Paul admonishes us to clean out the old yeast so that we might be a new batch. Unless we are yeast-bread bakers, most of us don’t give much thought to the power of a little yeast to affect the whole. If the yeast is old and bad, the bread will not rise and the mixture is ruined; when it is good and active, the bread takes a wholesome shape.

Clearly malice and envy act like bad yeast in a community, whereas sincerity and truth build it up. Our thoughts, as well as our actions, even “small” ones, have the power to affect all around us.

Risen Christ, help me to celebrate the glory of your resurrection by being mindful of the power of my thoughts and actions on those around me. Amen.

Written by Margaret M. Brennan, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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