October 8, 2023
In Matthew 13:33, Jesus says: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” The picture is of a woman mixing her piece of leaven (fermenting dough) into about 50 pounds of flour until the whole is leavened. The bread would have fed a small village. It’s a positive picture.
In our passage today, Jesus talks about leaven in a very different way. A few weeks ago, Pr. Vinh talked about traditions. Good traditions usually begin with some good leaven at the heart, something essential that fills the tradition with meaning.
In 1957, our Canadian Parliament used this language in its proclamation of the Thanksgiving holiday: “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed—to be observed on the second Monday in October.” The “leaven” at the heart of the holiday was gratitude to God for his provision.
Now, with the passage of time, this holiday we call Thanksgiving can degenerate from a focus on God to just thinking about family and friends, to just thinking about a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, to just celebrating a long weekend, and even into pure self-indulgence. The good leaven can be removed and replaced with a different kind of leaven.
The key question today is this: What kind of leaven was at work in the Pharisees and Sadducees?
What kind of leaven is at work in our lives this holiday weekend?