Sunday, April 16, 2006

Leavened bread

Pondering the Resurrection this Easter, I find joy in the fact that it no longer throws me into agonies about my belief or lack thereof.

I guess I'm learning that belief is different from faith. I have faith in the people I love. When I am separated from them, I still have faith in their love for me, and mine for them, regardless of their absence. I don't need to believe that they are present in order to have faith in them.

What I found myself meditating on today during Meeting were the parables Jesus used to teach about the Kingdom of Heaven- the mustard seed, and the leavened bread.

I read a parable spoken by a desert father. His student asked him about the meaning of the Resurrection. In response, he took a lump of salt and dropped it in a vessel of water, then walked away. The next day, the father and the student came back. Can you see the salt? the father asked. No, replied the student. Taste the water, said the father. The student did; it was salty. And that, said the father, was the meaning of the Resurrection. The body dissolved, but now in every drop of water.

So with the bread and the yeast and the Kingdom of Heaven; the yeast vanishes into the bread and yet imparts its leaven upon the whole. This parable is all the more dear to me because it speaks of something so mundane. The Jews Jesus was speaking to would have viewed leavened bread as profane; it was unleavened bread that was sacred. The Resurrection and, thus, the Kingdom of Heaven seep into our mundane lives to transform them.

I might not be able to believe that Christ rose from the dead, but I have faith in it, just as I have faith that I am loved, that spring will come again, that bread will rise.


Johan Maurer said...

I don't think I can adequately say how moving this post was to me.


QuakerK said...

A very nice post. I'm glad I swung by your blog. I'm very intrigued by the story. There is a nearly identical story in one of the Hindu texts, the Chandogya Upanishad. Svetaketu is taught by his father the Hindu teaching about the relationship of the individual soul (the atman) to the Divine (Brahman), and the father uses precisely the water-in-salt demonstration. Interesting.


earthfreak said...

Thanks, Sarah, this is a beautiful post.

Of course, it makes more sense to me in atman/brahman language than in christian language (not because I'm hindu, but because I dont' focus on Jesus as unique)

I also just have a random question, what is this about leavened bread being profane? I assume you mean only not-sacred, and not somehow dirty?? I hear a sermon a few years ago in which the preacher claimed that yeast was "unclean" in hebrew culture, like pork, and thought he was just looney. It's my understanding that unleavened bread is symbolic of haste during passover, but that aside from being part of a ritual, it is no more or less holy than leavened bread (just flatter)

Do you have any light to shed? I am totally confused.