Rest to Rise – lessons from the kitchen

Flour, water, yeast, oil, salt… mixing, kneading, resting.

Nowadays we’re so often disconnected from the process of bread making, if we are allowed gluten at all. We buy it crusty from the markets, saggy from the supermarket or open the lid on a fancy machine that did it for us.

It seems to me that God speaks in the everyday. His voice whispers in the things we see around us. All of creation inclines and the Spirit breathes life to all.

My nails are crusted round the edges with dough and I leave a bowl sitting on the bench – dough transformed from pasty mess to elastic dough – and left to rest.

This is what I read about the process of resting the dough –

If bread doesn’t rest it will not rise.

By resting the dough the gluten forms more quickly.

Gluten helps the bread to hold its shape when the heat comes on.

While the dough rests the yeast feasts on the sweetness it finds in the flour’s starches. As it feasts on sweet it releases carbon dioxide which grows the bread.

Rushing the resting time produces disappointing flavour and shape.

And I see my life, like this race to get to the finish line, to be productive, and tasty and life giving. It’s tempting, oh, so, tempting to rush the rest.

or not to rest at all.

There is so much important work to be done
so much mothering
and doing of good deeds,
and attending of good events,
and the tedium and humdrum of a life that marches, marches, marches

and the race is to the swift

and the winners are the ones who do not rest.

But we are invited to by the only God who would up hold humility, and death, and servanthood and sacrifice as ways to live.

We are instructed to rest.

I suspect that we do not value the rest because we don’t understand its purpose.

We do not value rest because it is culturally undervalued.

We do not value rest because our identity is tied up in what we do not who we are in Him.

Is that true? Shall we revisit?

We do not value the rest because we don’t understand its purpose.

We do not value rest because it is culturally undervalued.

We do not value rest because our identity is tied up in what we do not who we are in Him.

If bread hasn’t done its rest properly it cannot hold its shape when the pressure comes on.

If the processed is rushed the flavour is compromised.

When I rush instead of resting, my life giving properties, the flavour I offer the world is compromised and dulled.

When I enter into rest I feast on the sweetness of God. I expend the poison that is in me. I expand. I rise.

And when the heat comes – I hold true to the shape I have been made into.

How long is it since you have entered into true rest?
It’s been too long since I have stopped, trying instead to rush the process of rest. I have missed out on real time, unrushed time feasting on the sweetness of God.

Resting is one of the 10 commandments. I see a lot more of us passing judgements on murdering, stealing, adultery than I do on those who do not rest. I see us demanding time from others, instead of honouring it when they hold their boundaries, I see us with resentful hearts, crippled by loads of obligation…

We cry ‘but I have no time to rest’

have we really tried it?

Perhaps we will find that what we gain from resting will be exponential in our ability to effect the world around us?

And if the washing stays unfolded for another day, and facebook remains neglected for another half hour, and all that back to back stuff we tell ourselves is so urgent remains undone for another little while…. maybe that is not actually the end of the world as we know it.

Maybe we need to get serious about rest because it is a command of God and perhaps – like a loving parent who says to a strung out toddler – you are resting, now – He may command something because it will give us life?

Maybe rest is both a habit of the heart as well as a way we schedule our days. Rest is both a security in Jesus and a habit of taking time to feast – ‘to taste and see that the Lord is good.’

God help me to enter into your rest, feasting on your goodness, delighting in your grace, leaving things undone in order to be realigned by you. Let restfulness be a habit in my life and in my heart. Forgive me for my neglect of your good command.

Hebrews 4v9-11

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.