The Leaven

Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a women took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."

To every householder the working of leaven or yeast in a pan of dough is fraught with interest, because it is a primal factor in breadmaking. The meal or flour may be altered in kind or in quantity: some cooks use milk, some water, some butter, some lard, but all must use leaven; for without the leaven the bread would not rise, and it would be hard, heavy, and unpalatable. In Jesus' time every housewife knew how to make bread; and in choosing this simple picture he likened the kingdom of heaven to something all could understand. In the old days the leaven was often saved from one bread-making to another. That is, a bowl of the sweet dough was taken out and saved for the next baking. But it had to be used while it was still sweet, and could not be laid upon a shelf for a more convenient time. Mothers gave a bowl of it to their daughters when the latter started housekeeping; but it had to be watched and kept at just the right temperature in order to "work." It was often an important part of the conversation among women.

We have seen in Christian Science the wondrous action of spiritual understanding upon human consciousness. About us the sick have been lifted out of their suffering; the heart-weary and discouraged have lifted their eyes in hope and joy. We have seen, too, the fermentation that often takes place when this spiritual leaven enters human thought: old habits are then forsaken, erroneous thoughts are discarded, and daily interests flow into new and better channels. We have glimpsed, too, the far-reaching effects of its leavening power. Through Christian Scientists who have accepted spiritual understanding and are using it in all their living and thinking, world problems are being touched and healed. In business and politics, in family and social relations, its blessed influence is at work. It "permeates with increased harmony all the minutiæ of human affairs" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 204). Let us not deceive ourselves as to the value or use of spiritual understanding. Each thought, each word, each action should be permeated with its leavening influence. Already it has girdled the world.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

January 12, 1929

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.