In a great line that is worth all preachers and writers remembering,
it has been said “Don’t pick at the metaphor – you’ll make it bleed”
It’s a reminder that we can run the risk of pushing an image too far
and when we do that, we might miss the point
Well, over the next few weeks, we are living dangerously
and we are going to work with one short parable, with one metaphor
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took
and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough”.
John reminded us of the image of this subversive woman
who looked around and thought – to hell with this! –
and then mixed yeast through a whole stack of flour until it was all corrupted.
And there the yeast sits. Spread throughout the flour – unseen and undetectable
It is like John Williams shared with us a few weeks back –
with the wheat and the rye grass.
You just cant pick them apart.
Here, you cant go through and find the yeast and pull it apart.
It’s there. Mixed in.
But for yeast to do its “thing” it has to be activated.
Without the activation, it may as well not be there. It’s just not really yeasty.
A bit of warmth, a bit of water, a bit of sugar … and …. It’s off.
Then it makes the difference between dough and bread
Then it makes the difference between juice and wine
Then it makes the difference between barley water and beer.
Yeast is alive. It’s a living thing
And our word for yeast come from an old English word “gist”
When you keep tracing the word root back
you get an even older word that simply means “yes”.
A living thing. A yes.
What is the “yes” for you?
What is it that activates you?
What is it that energises you? Starts you?
This is a “yes” community.
From my very earliest engagement with this place, these people,
it was clear that it is a “yes” place.
A permission giving culture.
This is a community that hears and idea, and its initial approach is
“Yes, we can try that.”
This is a community that has seen hunger and responds by feeding.
This is a community that sees loneliness and responds by befriending
This is a community that senses that the arts can develop and be celebrated
and responds by nurturing and nourishing them
This is a community that hears a call for help from the wider church
and gives of itself generously. Sacrificially.
This is a community that has it eyes, its head and its heart open
and is willing to be guided and called into new places and new ventures
This is a yes community. A yeast community
But what activates you?
What stirs within you?
What makes you rise?
Is it a personal, individual experience of the grace and mercy of God?
Is it the sense of being surrounded by others in community?
Is it a deep compassion and empathy with those who are in need?
Is it the water of baptism?
Is it the warmth of the spirit
Is it – well what is it?
We have hundreds of people involved regularly in the life of this place.
My guess is that the starter -the thing which activates us –
is different in just about all.
But what is it for YOU.
What is it that means for you the yeast is not just hidden in the flour
but is bubbling away and changing things forever?
Or what is it that you are looking for, waiting for, hoping for?
I am hoping that you can not only think about,
but also talk about these simple questions
What is it that activates you?
What is your starter?
I hope you are aware of it.
I hope you are sensing and celebrating what changes you
Because what changes you is changing your world, and the world around.
Karl Barth – one of the great theologians of the last 100 years –
talks about Jesus as “God’s yes”
and reminds us that God’s yes is ultimately stronger than our no.
Something is active here.
Something is active in you.
Do you know what it is?