I learned how to bake by using this cookbook. I still do most of my baking from it. They are tried and true recipes that never fail. As you can see from this picture, this cookbook has been well used, in fact, I have lost some of the pages, but since my mother and all three of my sisters have one as well, I can usually find what I am looking for. This cookbook, first produced by a group of church women, has been in print since 1965, my copy was published in 1974. The first versions had the women's names by the recipes, just like all good church cookbooks do. I don't know when they were dropped or when the cookbook became more than a local fundraiser.
As I baked birthday cakes this morning for a family celebration tomorrow, I was reflecting on some of the things I have learned about ministry and life from baking:
1. Some things you HAVE to do in a certain order, otherwise the results are unappealing.
2. When you are a beginner, it helps to follow the rules, except when the rules make no sense. In baking and ministry, there is a tension and dance between the familiar and the novel.
3. Patience. Somethings you can throw together in a few minutes, some things you can't hurry.
4. You have to trust that the end result will be greater than the sum of the parts.... communities of faith can do amazing things when they come together for a shared purpose.
5. Heat, like a refiner's fire, can burn beyond usefulness or transform mundane things into amazing creations. transformation. The secret is the right temperature.
6. When you don't have the right tools, improvise! Sometimes the tools we have are no longer serviceable for the new task.
7. Once you know the basics, the possibilities are endless.
8. Sometimes tried and true is what you want and need, except in case of number 9.
9. Sometimes you have to step out of your rut and try something new.
10. Sometimes you just have to rest and trust that something is happening beneath the surface. Bread dough looks pretty unappealing, but with the right ingredients, in the right proportions, at the right temperature, rises and bakes into basic, delicious sustenance and can feed the world.
And that's my window on God's world.