I remember my Mom coming home from a church activity with a jar of batter that was called 'Herman'. For the next several months, my mom baked many loaves of 'Herman" for me and my siblings to eat. Herman made a big impression on me. How could something so small make so many loaves of bread? How exactly did 'Herman' grow and regrow itself with very little involvement or fuss? As a child I began to think of 'Herman' as having his own personality. Herman was: Smart, giving, easygoing, self sufficient, mysterious, smelly (like yeast), resourceful, and patient. The more I think about 'Herman' as an adult, I think his/her personality are ones I'd like to claim for my own. (Minus the smelly part of course.) For the last several weeks, the gospel lessons for the lectionary readings have been about Jesus being "the bread of life". (John 6: 51-58) I thought about the ingredients of bread, the uniqueness of 'Herman' and the way that all these characteristics can point to Jesus.
Jesus gave of himself in a way no other dared; in his life and his death and Resurrection. I like the similar traits of Resurrection, revival, and renewal that are common to Jesus and 'herman'. Jesus challenges his followers that,
" Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."
Jesus knew that people needed something (someone) to cause a change, growth, and renewal in their lives. In giving his own life, Jesus points us to his ways of living.
Loving God, loving others, loving self....
By taking up (or in) a life like Jesus life can be found and lived.
The recipe for 'Herman' isn't one that will last forever. Even 'herman' in all it ability does have a shelf life or limitation to it ability for renewal. Eventually, 'herman' wears out. Jesus however, does not have limitation on his ability to "make all things new". (Revelation 21:4-6) or give life to the full ( John 10:9-11 ).
As I think of renewal and fullness, I can't help but ask the prayerful question:
"What needs renewed or filled in me?"
Jesus, I need to grow in many of the areas that seemed so natural for 'Herman'. Help me to allow for some remixing so that true renewal can take place - renewal that will last longer than 'Herman'.