Again He said, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God with? It is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was all leavened all through.’ Luke 13:20–21
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
A discipline of patience reveals itself not only in the way we pray but in the way we act. Our actions, like our prayers, must be a manifestation of God’s compassionate presence in the midst of our world. Patient actions are actions through which the healing, consoling, comforting, reconciling, and unifying love of God can touch the heart of humanity. They are actions through which the fullness of time can show itself and God’s justice and peace can guide our world. They are actions by which good news is brought to the poor, liberty to the prisoners, new sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, and God’s year of favor is proclaimed. Henri Nouwen, Compassion
Grant that I, Lord, may not be anxious about earthly things, but love things heavenly; and even now, while I am placed among things that are passing away, hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
One last question Matteo asked was if I was making lots of my bread. One would figure with five guys in the house that I would be making loaves and loaves of bread. But it is more of a beans and tortillas and store-bought white bread sort of household these days, and lots of that and not so much of the fresh-out-of-the-oven, in the metal pans from King Arthur’s Bakery pierced with holes, sprinkled with sesame seeds sort.
But I do know about yeast.
So what is this kingdom of God? This tiny mustard seed revolution, from its humble beginnings in an obscure Galilean village? The good news passes from transformed heart to transformed heart, changing from within, bubbling throughout the entire mass. Slowly, steadily, the sweet scent of hope and grace fills the place. And brings nourishment, sustenance to all.
Just like that ol’ mustard seed which becomes a mighty tree, where birds perch and make nests in its branches.
And yesterday was Panchita Day, and if anyone knows her, her presence permeates the house. Beyond the scent of bleach and Pine Sol and drying laundry. And yesterday, surprise, I was pretty beat-up weary so she made dinner for the boys, one of the twelve different rice dishes for which she is famous, with chopped up celery and carrots and onions and garlic, and smooshed-up pinto beans and corn tortillas heated to a edged with black crispiness, and man, it was delicious.
It might be a bit of a stretch to compare Panchita to the Kingdom of God but she does work in mysterious ways. One can never tell which direction she is headed. And she certainly uncovers dark spaces that need to be brought to light.
And that ol’ Panchita can talk. I rescued a few young men who had stumbled into her web. But on the way home, I listened to how God’s word had come alive. And all those books Mary Anne always used to give her every Christmas and she didn’t get them and was kinda frustrated with such a useless gift, but everything is changed. And now God’s word brings clarity and peace to her heart. And those books make sense now and are almost all finished. And I said that was the Holy Spirit who helps us understand. And Panchita lit up and told me how His presence was working His way through her life.
Just like yeast.
And yesterday I took one of my groups of Enrichment kids over to the bus stop to interview people with some extra time on their hands. And we are trying to figure out what this writing moment is going to be, whether it will be a newspaper or an arts magazine or a yearbook or just writing things to submit to contests, but they all wanted their first topic to be their favorite famous person because that gave them plenteous excuse to watch YouTubes on classroom time.
And the survey we put together asked about fame, and whom these hanger-arounders would like to eat dinner with. And they all pretty much agreed on Pope Francis. And again and again my kiddos heard from people on the streets that when it was all said and done, and fame and fortune and talent and power are all taken into consideration, humility was the trait that mattered.
And may my actions be God’s compassionate presence in the midst of our world.
And a discipline of patience. Yep. I better bind that as a sign on my hand, and as frontlets between my eyes. I sure lost it yesterday as a cadre of seventh graders stomped all over my clever lesson plans. I felt like me that they were stomping all over me instead. And I wept during our at-the-end-of-the-day gratitude moment. I was not feeling very grateful.
But we are all being transformed. Them. Me. All of us. As the kingdom works among and in us.
And today may I be about my Father’s business, quietly, humbly living out His word in patient actions through which the healing, consoling, comforting, reconciling, and unifying love of God can touch the heart of humanity. To hold fast to that which shall endure, things heavenly and of His kingdom.