As someone who spends many hours each week with my hands immersed in flour, I firmly believe we can witness the glory of God in the rising of dough and the luxurious swirls of cake batter. It is nothing short of magical how putting together the right ingredients in specific proportions can transform these individual items into something new entirely. But what exactly are these ingredients we use to create these new creations?
Dan Barber’s book The Third Plate pulled the scales off of my eyes and forced me to reckon with the very thing I thought was flour. Before the creation of roller mills, stone mills ground our wheat into flour. Unlike flour today, this flour was very much alive. It overflowed with bran and the germ. The bran and the germ contain all of the nutrients and flavor of the plant but limit the shelf life. Because of this, today we use roller mills that remove the bran and the germ and mill only the casing of the wheat. This creates flour that is quite simply dead. It has none of the nutrients and flavors. When I learned this, I felt betrayed! How could I grow up using this lifeless flour in all of my creations without even realizing there was something better? How could I not know that the flour I used in all of my cakes and cookies was nothing more than a small nod to what God intended flour to be?
How often does the world live like this? We are convinced everything is as it should be and do not realize the greater possible goodness around us. We are mere casings of who God intended us to be. The bran and germ have been striped away without us even realizing it! We are dried and lifeless and lacking flavor, and we are perfectly content with this, because we don’t even know there is any other way.
Then one day something happens, and we can finally see! We become acutely aware that we are mere casings and the very thing that gives us life and flavor was with us all along. We were just separated from this thing. We realize we are not destined to remain on the shelf for years without changing. We are fully alive because the one who created the universe is in us. The one who created the universe is giving us nutrients and flavor and inviting us into a life that is greater than we could ever imagine.
by Katie Best-Richmond, Pastor of Stewardship