Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bread of Life

Have you ever made bread? From scratch I mean. It's a process. Measuring, adding ingredients. You have to get your hands dirty. You have to dig into the dough and knead it. You have to work at it until you set it aside to rise.

And when you come back, there it is, like magic. Entirely different than when you left it. It is bigger, fuller, rounder. It has grown.

And then you knead it again, working it until it is again something entirely different. It is still bread, but in different form. Only then can you bake it. Only much later can you taste of your efforts.

Making bread is alot like forgiving yourself.

You start with a decision you made. One of necessity, maybe. One of anger or stupidity. Something that effects you greatly. One that hurts. One that ripples through your life.

You grapple with it, going over and over again with it in your mind. You set it aside, determined not to think of it. But when you come back to it, because it is human nature to do so, it has grown. It must be worked at again until it is manageable.

You could go on forever like this. And forever, the decision you made will haunt you.

Until you add God and His grace to the equation.

We are created human. We make human mistakes. Mistakes and decisions that cannot be reversed or changed. We think about these choices and they hurt and become bigger and bigger in our minds and soul. That's what humans do. It is our nature.

But a human that lives under God's unending love is different. We have hundreds of scriptures about forgiveness. We have a path to follow when we err.

And the path leads right to Calgary. To the cross. To the sacrifice. It leads to the outstretched arms, the agony, the blood. It leads to a man who with His last breath asked God to forgive us.

It leads to Jesus. To his left hand, pierced. To his right hand, pierced. To his head, crowned with thorns. To his lips that spoke our ransom in a voice longing for home.

God knew we would hurt each other. He knew we would hurt ourselves. He knew that we would fall, and make choices we couldn't live with. He made a covenant with us, that his Son's blood would pay our way into a paradise we could never deserve.

We are hardest on ourselves. But when we confess our sin and ask to be forgiven, WE ARE. And with that decision, we have to let it go as well. That is OUR part of the bargain.

Not so easy.

It requires work. Getting your hands dirty. Kneading down what has risen up. Working over it with prayer and dedication, knowing the outcome will be something that sustains you.

It also means knowing that hands other than your own are at work with you. The forgiving yourself is a process that is done with God. In communion with Him. The burden is not entirely your own. It can be shared and given over into hands that are stronger than your own. Hands that can work in ways you cannot fathom.

In the end, there is reward for your efforts. Sustenance for your soul. Strength from what has been given. The knowledge that your hands were covered by His, and together you created life from pain.

Luke 22:19
And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and He gave it to them saying, "This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

John 6:51
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Matthew 26:28
"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured of for many for the forgiveness of sins."