Thought for the day – Thursday 21 May

Thought for the day - Thursday 21 May
Dear All
At the start of the lockdown, it seemed to me that our new currency would soon be Smartprice or four-ply luxury toilet tissue. Things have changed now and toilet tissue has been replaced by self-raising flour as the much more valued commodity. You can’t get the stuff anywhere, I’ve tried. There must be a lot of baking going on, a lot of buns in the oven.
I’ve really no idea why baking has risen in popularity, and not, for example, arm wrestling, fire-eating, or Houdini style escapology. I mean, you could always bake before, what is it about baking just now? There’s plenty of time to try the other activities and it would make a change don’t you think?
Plain flour is not so scarce, however, and you can get it easily enough. If you’ve no self-raising flour at hand, plain flour with the addition of baking soda or cream of tarter will do the job, I think? No doubt there’ll be some very interesting specimens of home baking in the ‘Newton Mearns Bake In’.
It was the lack of the self-raising flour that made me think of Jesus’ words, ‘beware the leaven of the Pharisees’. At the Passover, the Jews ate, among other food, unleavened bread, ie, bread with no yeast. At Passover, a ‘search’ of the house is made to find and discard any yeast as part of the ancient ritual.
Why yeast or leaven? The exodus from Egypt was made in such a hurry that there was no time for the bread to rise, hence the symbolic use of unleavened bread.
Jesus used all sorts of examples and illustrations to make his point while teaching and in general conversation. He’s speaking about leaven is just another one for us to consider today. That Jesus and the religious authorities were often at loggerheads is nothing new to you and any reading of the gospel will show that to be the case, but why?
It was the hypocrisy of the Pharisees that Jesus often challenged. Their ostentatious display of religiosity seemed more important than any religion of the heart. Their strict observance of the law and their merciless application meant that ordinary people were burdened by their man-made rules and regulations. Their interpretation of the law made them self appointed experts and as such a class above everyone else.
At the heart of our lesson, today is ‘hypocrisy’. What can we learn?
Today I ask you to think/meditate on these things.
God bless you

Jim

JBoag@churchofscotland.org.uk

MATTHEW 16: 5-12

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

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