Good Friday’s Wheat and Yeast

John 12:23-26

Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

Khrisha J. Blackwell brings the beauty of song to scripture—to encourage us to move closer to what is a necessary suffering in all our lives as followers of the Way.

This morning before noon I began planting seeds. Flower seeds mostly, for my garden later this summer, but I also planted 2 plates full of wheat seeds and kept repeating to myself as I sprinkled them onto the shallow plates of dirt, “Unless a kernel of wheat dies…” and I wept with what I see Jesus revealing and responding to every year for the past two thousand: the killing of each other, whether literally— as in Myanmar today—or figuratively in my own head when someone challenges my ego’s sense of rightness. This violent tendency to create “others not like me” is as the root of the sacrifice he made so that we might become aware of our own propensity to become monsters, even as we see ourselves as decent, kind people much of the time. With this seeing of our own need to be “more right than you,” our hearts just naturally begin to belove and believe all on their own.

I also just sprinkled the yeast onto the warm milk and sugar on the stove. The Hot Cross Buns made today will not be sampled until dawn on Sunday. As their yeasty smell fills my home this afternoon—the time that scripture says the Earth was covered in darkness—I will keep playing Khrisha’s beautiful words in my head. Reminding myself that it all belongs— the wheat kernels that spilled onto the porch and didn’t make it into the soil, the kernels that won’t grow even though they are afforded every advantage to do so, the buns that will inevitably burn or not rise despite all my best love brought to the task. It all belongs.

Jesus knew this about the wheat and yeast of life, too. He knew that we are all doing the best we know how to do at this moment in our lives. This is how he was able to say those powerful words, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

But he also knew that we can be surprised by ourselves and each other in the moments in which we let our little selves die. When we choose Kindness rather than Rightness, Love reveals the angel that has been marching ahead of us all the while announcing, “Behold the image of God!”

May the gift of Grace given to the world today make it easier to see those angels walking in front of everyone, everywhere.

Thanks be to God.

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