The Season of Yeast
I have spent the majority of my professional life living in resort communities. For eleven years I lived in the beautiful island community of Friday Harbor, Washington. Then I was called to be the organizing pastor for the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole in the mountains of western Wyoming. Now I am blessed to live on The Coast in the little tourist community of Lincoln City, Oregon.
Tourist communities are beautiful. The beauty is one of the reasons people gravitate from the cities to spend time there. It is a get away from the harried lives most urban and suburbanites live. The moments of renewal they obtain, the centering of the lives that have become so frayed, is a gift that a resort community can give to the rest of the world.
There are people who not only are blessed to visit a resort community but are blessed to live in a resort community. For some it is the result of good planning and a great retirement package. For others it is the blessing of full time employment. These ‘locals’ provide the services that make the stay for visitors what it is.
But, there is a rub in a tourist community. Both residents and visitors love the beauty and the refreshment the area provides. However, when “Tourist Season” arrives it does so with busy- ness, traffic, demands, etc. The tranquility that locals love is lost to the demands required of them so they can stay. A bumper sticker was made a number of years ago that expresses the honest feelings of many locals. It simply says:
If it’s tourist season why can’t we shoot ‘em?
It certainly is not a nice sentiment to be floating around a community that lives and dies on tourist dollars, but, for many it is an honest one.
There are other types of seasons of the year that elicit their own array of feelings: Christmas Season, Baseball Season, Hunting Season, the Opera Season, the… Season of the year are ways by which we measure the ebb and flow of life.
We are entering another Season, the season of political candidacy for the President of the United States. In these last few weeks we have seen Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton, and Marco Rubio declared their intent to run. Here we are, 18 months away from Election Day and the starting whistle has been sounded. Over the course of these next month’s we will hear countless speeches, criticism of the intentions and plans of opponents, some definition of personal intent and plans, and we will see the movement of billions of dollars to support candidates of an individual’s choice. The goal: to get the person who best represents my vision of America into the Oval Office.
The Season of Political Candidacy.
The question that was raised in my thinking during these last weeks of big announcement sub-season of politics was “Where does the Kingdom of God fit into this season of life in America?” In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth (in America, in our communities, in our homes, in my life) as it is in heaven.” We throw money, time, energy, thought and passion into our politics but churches struggle to have resources of money, time, energy, thought and passion to accomplish God’s work in their communities.
Let me ask the question another way: Have we created a schizophrenia of the soul where we are believers on Sunday morning and then don’t really think about our faith the rest of the week? I don’t know the answer to these questions for you. I believe that most of us have some level of spiritual schizophrenia.
So, what is the answer? Here is something to think about. Jesus used lots of images to help people think about and understand the Kingdom of Heaven. One image was that of yeast.
He told them still another parable: “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.” Matthew 13:33 (NIV)
I believe the Kingdom of God is to be woven through all the seasons of life, even the seasons of tourism and politics. Instead of compartmentalizing our faith, it should be integrated into all we do and all we are. Is this an easy process? No! In fact, the world is very good at showing us where we have fallen short in this integrating process. Maybe this is why Jesus said the woman mixed the yeast through a “large amount of flour.” It took a while and for us it will take a lifetime.
Dear Lord: Do your work of mixing the yeast of your kingdom into every corner of my life. Allow me the holy honor of representing You in all I do in all the seasons of a year. And, when I see an area of my life that has not yet been affected by the yeast of your kingdom, help me to humbly allow You to do your work in me. In Jesus’ name. Amen
From one of the yeast of God’s children.