1 Corinthians 5:1-8
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you? For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Years ago I bought a bread making machine that made the most delicious bread. The aroma of freshly baked bread awakening me in the morning was the most wonderful alarm clock I ever had. When I went to Maine for my summer vacation, I took the machine with me and baked a fresh, hot, loaf of bread for those who invited me to their homes for cocktails. My hosts were thrilled. One might have thought I’d brought them a pot of gold, such was their delight.
I learned from that first summer with my bread machine, that little gifts can bring great delight. It takes only a tiny teaspoon of yeast to make a loaf of bread, and from that small amount is produced days of enjoyment for those who taste the bread. Hot, fresh, homemade bread doesn’t need jam, honey, or butter to make it taste good. It is fabulous just on its own merit.
“Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” It is so easy to let negative thoughts rise and take hold of our lives and control our relationships with others, eroding and eating away the wholeness and goodness of community. How much more satisfying it is to put our energy into those acts of thoughtfulness and kindness that build up a community and give cause for celebration.
O God, you have given us life and have granted us the time, ability, and opportunity to create gifts that bring joy to others. May we be inspired to be the yeast that enlivens the communities in which we live, and to turn away from being the negative force that tears them apart. Bless us with your inspiring Spirit that our acts may glorify your name. Amen.