So this post is a little late. Last week, back before the parade of palm branches and shouts of “Hosanna!” we marked the 5th Sunday in the season of Lent by exploring the theme of kneading.
The ingredients were gathered: water, wheat, yeast, and time. Brought together by this week’s action-based installment, the congregational participation was to watch and listen.
As it came time for the third reading, we raised partition dividing the parish hall from the kitchen. And there, behind the counter, I leaned into the dough, pressing down through shoulders to palms, developing the gluten and calling the body of the bread to stretch and shape into something different, something new; something not quite yet what it is becoming.
And while I leaned my weight into the bread, calling it into being, I sang over it a song born out of a season of my own waiting, repenting, and being kneaded into something authentically true and yet, more whole.
There was a lot of vulnerability in this installation. Like the movement of the grain, I kept wondering if what I was doing with my body in the space would be enough.
While I grew up singing in churches, I’m aware that the songs I write aren’t exactly the kinds of songs that people listen to or sing. It’s more like musical poetry–I utilize words that a lot of people don’t say very often.
And yet, it felt so important to sing. Our participation in Lent is often really just the process of being kneaded by God–leaned on by a holy weight; stretched; called into being something authentic to our constitutive ingredients, yet substantially new. And I can only imagine that God-in-the-kitchen, kneading us, has to be singing over us as well.
And now, this sixth week, a week where we bless the palms, enact the passion story, and prepare to move into the narratives of passover, betrayal, death, abandonment, and then finally, the scandal of resurrection.
Here we wait for the flavor to develop and the shaped loaf to slowly fill out into the final incarnation. It is the process of proofing, of responding to the conditions of the world and becoming ready for the process of transformation.
Here is a link to a recording of the song that I sang in week 5. Blessed holy week, friends.