Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"and now You gently break me..."

"My heart is so proud.
My mind is so unfocused.
I see the things You do through me,
as great things I have done.
And now, You gently break me,
then lovingly You take me
and hold me as my Father
and mold me as my Maker...."

Maria sent me this Youtube clip of Laura Story's "Grace," the other day.  Thank you.  I love it and have thought about the first verse over and over again.   Of how easy it is for the spiritual servant to forget.  And how immediately her Father steps in to realign her sense of being, with His power...and the gift of grace.

I couldn't help but think of Christ's reference to himself as "the bread."  I love baking bread.  In fact, it hapens to be one of my favorite things to do.  But do I bake much bread these days...nope.   Bread takes devotion, focus, care.  Can you make quick, auto-pilot bread?  Sure.  Breadmakers and frozen dough have made the scent of freshly baking loaves of sourdough, or crusty loaves of wheat bread ubiquitous.  But for me, bread baking is more about the baking, than the bread.

I love it all.  The dissolving cake of yeast in warm milk, a pile of whole grain flours on a marble slab waiting to accept yeast, milk, egg, etc..  I love the waiting, the kneading, the rising up...and the punching down.  I love each step of the process and when I reach the final forming of the loaf for the oven...I feel like a mother.

Pulling a golden, grainy loaf of seeded bread from the hot oven has only one end....sharing it.   That constitutes one amazing day of total attentiveness. 

So, as I listened to this Laura Story song about "grace" I thought about myself as bread. 

You know, I had one pretty great, amazing, wonder-filled summer.   If I hadn't had more than twenty of them, I might have gotten caught up in thinking my great summer had something to do with a "great" me.  Not!!

But God loves me so, so, soooo much.  And I welcome his attentiveness to my spiritual rising.  So, I am never alarmed when I feel him breaking me....it's necessary for the baking of a beautiful loaf of bread. One of my favorite parts of bread baking is watching that first rising.  You've mixing your ingredients, the dough is now a perfect consistency, you feel its weight in our hands, form it into a lovely ball, tuck under all the edges, place it back in the oiled bread bowl, cover it with a lovely blue and white checked cotton towel...and wait. 

It will puff up to more than double its size.  It will be smooth, fragrant, and beautiful.  And that's just when you punch it down and start manhandling it.  But this manhandling, or kneading, is necessary.  It breaks down the big, puffy, more dramatic bubbles of air, so that more consistent, smaller pockets of air can form throughout the loaf, leading to lovely slices of yummy bread.

After an early summer that rose into something big and beautiful...full of dramatic first rising bubbles, I've spent some time in the punch down, knead, and rise...punch down, knead and rise stages of my summer's more quiet late August.   But, for me, this only means that my Father is an attentive Baker, and that He loves me enough to want me to be consistent, humble, and to know the gift of grace...to know that it's all, always, been in His hands.   And besides, all that punching down, kneading, and forming means His hands have been all over my life..that's always the best feeling!!   And as for the connection between baking and Mary Baker Eddy's use of the term, "self-immolation"...well, that's for another post. 

I think there's a reason why we say "grace" before we break bread....

with Love...and hopefully, more grace... 


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