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  • kimcordell2

Rise Again

This week I tried to bake bread sticks from scratch. That means I started by grinding my own grain. I have several friends who buy hard white or red wheat grain from a co-op. They often bake loaves in a bread machine. Sometimes they just make the dough in the machine and then put it in bread tins to bake in the oven. The end product is a heavenly loaf that is reminiscent of my mother’s and grandmother’s Swedish rye bread. I now have a Vita Mix attachment for milling dry grain, thanks to my friend Brenda, so I thought I would try it.

I do not bake often because I seldom eat bread, and I only make dessert for special occasion family dinners. My lack of experience showed in the end product. On this occasion, I decided to use a blend of wheat and oat flour. The other ingredients were simply olive oil, honey, yeast and water. Salt was called for, but I forgot to add it. The last time I tried to make bread it did not rise. I probably killed the yeast by using water that was too hot.

After I mixed everything, I put the bowl of dough in the cold oven and turned on the warming drawer below. My recollection was that it takes hours to rise, after which I should punch it down and let it rise again. I decided to take a walk during the first rise. An hour later I returned, accompanied by my experienced bread-making friend, Linda. She thought the dough looked like it was rising nicely, and she left. So I punched the dough down. It seemed overly wet.

After the second rise, I picked some dough up to see if I could roll it in a ball. It stuck to my fingers like a clinging child that refuses to let go. I added flour. Now there were clumps of dough now sticking to everything I touched. I feared someone would come to the door and I would have to answer it with two hands encased in extreme play dough.

Eventually, I was able to roll out the mixture into snakes that I hoped would bake into tasty bread sticks. Then I popped them into the oven and washed my hands. It took a tooth brush to get all the dough out of my wedding ring.

Since it is Holy Week leading up to Easter, I am thinking about the process of waiting for the dough to rise again. Jesus died on a cross but rose again. No one was waiting for that to happen. His followers heard him say it, but it made no sense. How could he, or why would he? And then Easter morning an angel announced to the women, “He Is Risen!” Matthew 28:6

I am happy to announce that my bread dough rose and baked beautifully. Then I took a bite. It was dry and rather tasteless. I tried to do the right things and followed the instructions. But the result was unsatisfying. Sometimes my Christian example is also dry and uninteresting. My words and actions can be in poor taste. I fail to invite others to the abundant life that Jesus exemplifies. He is the Bread of life, risen and nourishing.

I will keep working on my baking techniques and my love for others. When my hands cannot handle the mess I have made, I can be sure that my Savior still loves me. He washed away our sins as easily as I washed away the goo from my fingers. I intend to cling to Him all the rest of my days.

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