Friday, October 11, 2013

God, Latency... and Yoghurt

I really love it when God speaks to you in a latent manner - so subliminally that you don't perceive it or even realise that it is him doing it; then just a couple of days down the line, some kind of catalyst unlocks it all and you can see it so vividly.

Take this week for example.  I am not a man who is renowned for being into cookery programs on TV, in fact you are far more likely to catch me bemoaning the amount of cookery shows on television... especially BBC Saturday Kitchen - it needs to take lengthy breaks and seemingly never does.

However on Sunday afternoon, I found myself engrossed in watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall explaining how he makes home made yoghurt on Channel 4's River Cottage Every Day.  The recipe is fairly simple, you heat dairy milk and powdered milk in a pan and when the temperature is correct, you infuse it with a small amount of existing live yoghurt.  Once this is done, you cover your concoction and leave it in a warm place... during the next 6-8 hours the science behind the unseen magical forces of nature works its wonders and the bacteria begin to spread... eventually overwhelming the dead, Pasteurised milk and transforming it into living yoghurt. It literally crosses over from death to life. It is a new creation, the old has gone... the new has come.

Now the metaphor here is pretty obvious... I've pretty much quoted St. Paul's words about those who having been "crucified" with Christ, enter into a living relationship with God.  Or again, it is like the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel - how God takes something inert, nullified, devoid of life... and transforms it into a living army.

However that in itself was not what made it special for me this time.  Fast forwarding a couple of days into the week, I found my self praying in Church about my community and my hopes for revival.  These prayers have taken on a greater meaning and sense of urgency for me as the Minster prepares to move out of interregnum (and yes, I still loathe that Anglican term). This is especially so because of the manner in which I feel God has moved to set things up for the future... truly I have seen his hand at work... and although I cannot tell specifically to what end his hand is working, I just take joy and motivation in seeing it occur.

As I prayed, my thoughts were very much turned toward the Parable of the Yeast/Leaven. It is the second of two parables (the other being the parable of the Mustard Seed), told by Jesus that are linked by their theme of exponential growth. What is important about this parable is the manner in which the growth takes place - how the base ingredients that are already there are completely dominated and  become part of something greater when a catalyst is introduced.

It was while I was reading this parable during prayer, that my mind was immediately taken back to the River Cottage yoghurt creation.

You'll note that to create yoghurt, you actually need... yoghurt. Milk cannot create yoghurt... the dead cannot make life. So it is with the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is both the catalyst and sustaining force that brings revival and if we hope to revolutionise our environment... the world we find ourselves in, then we need to involve the Holy Spirit both in our lives and the life of our churches and community.

I truly hope this is what is going to happen in the place I call home, that the Holy Spirit will come... come and transform the dead milk into a vibrant living yoghurt that bears God's name and lives and breathes and spreads his gospel in new and amazing ways.

And so Read and pray:
"Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19
 Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

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