What kind of love is like yeast in a cake? How do we keep such love from growing old or cold?
My wife is a spectacular baker. Her cakes, cookies, and cinnamon rolls are legendary.
One time, however, the cake didn’t rise very much. It was somewhere between a cracker and her fluffy, moist cakes we love and expect.
What went wrong?
Eventually, she figured out that her yeast was old—way past its code date.
As background, perhaps I should explain that my wife makes her cakes—and other baked items—from scratch. She’s embarrassed to use a mix from a box. Or, God forbid, serve a cake baked by a store!
I thought of this when reading what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, “together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
As you may know, the Church in Corinth was stricken by divisions, disputes and sins. To cure them from what ailed them (and from what ails all of us in every time and place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ), Paul used a four letter word: L-O-V-E.
Paul wrote (to them and to us):
If I speak in the tongues of [humans] or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
What is this kind of love which acts as yeast in our lives and in all Humanity?
The yeast of love that spreads throughout our lives and our churches.
Jesus likened this kind of love to the yeast that a baker mixes into 60 pounds of flour until it works all through the dough. (Matthew 13:33).
Jesus likened this kind of love to a tiny tiny mustard seed that grows into “a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32).
Make certain that your yeast of love doesn’t grow old—as happened at the church in Ephesus where they forsook the love they had at first. (Revelation 2:4-5).
Make certain that your yeast of love doesn’t grow cold—as happens to many people and churches “[b]ecause of the increase of wickedness.” (Matthew 24:12).
How can we keep the love of yeast alive and well in our lives, and in our churches?
By following the same advice that the Apostle Paul gave the church at Ephesus 2,000 years ago:
Encourage Christ to dwell in the hearts of our lives and our churches, being rooted and established in love, giving us:
—power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
—and to know this love that surpasses knowledge
—that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:18-19)
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
In what ways is love spreading throughout your life and Humanity?
In what ways is love growing old or cold in your life and in churches?
In what ways can we keep love from growing old or cold in our lives and in our churches?
For more of my thoughts about grasping how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, please read my blog “Grace and Peace—Ephesians”.
Usually, yeast (leaven) symbolizes wrong-doing. For example, in a tradition among Jews that continues to this day, they toss out old items made with yeast (leaven) so that they can celebrate their freedom from slavery in Egypt with unleavened bread such as they took with them from Egypt when they fled in haste, lacking time to let the yeast (leaven) rise. In contrast, the reference by Jesus to leaven (yeast) in Matthew 13:33 is talking about the way the kingdom of heaven grows throughout Humanity similar to the way flour spreads through dough. It is an illustration that parallels how the kingdom of heaven is like a tiny mustard seed that grows into “a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32). In this blog, I equate spreading love with spreading the kingdom of heaven.