For many of us, today is the last day of unleavened bread for this season.
The celebration began seven days ago and came just in time to get us back on track from all that yeast bread, rolls and cakes we have been making, and eating, all winter during the pandemic.
I hear people complaining about all the weight they gained during this year of shut-in time.
In our church, it is a great time of learning and renewing. We do have to do some work, but it is also a week of joy as well. It is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Leviticus 23:6 — "And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.") Dates change on the modern calendar year by year, of course, so don't be confused.
I'm thinking back 30 years or so ago, when our congregation of around 325 in Columbia were celebrating this feast. And at that time, we had a lot of young people and teenagers who were full of fun and pranks.
During this time, all leavening and products containing leavening are diligently removed from homes and cars. Imagine doing this, then finding a slice of bread in your briefcase during church services!
Some unnamed prankster had put in a toy, a sponge slice of bread, in a family member's case for a joke. Of course, there was a lot of snickering at the look on his face when he opened his case and spotted the bread.
I remember one day our youngest son, Eric, was so careful not to make a mistake. Then one day, he and I went through a drive-thru restaurant. In a hurry, not thinking, I ordered a cup of coffee. Eric ordered a sandwich. We pulled away, and he had about half his sandwich eaten when he realized. He never forgot that lesson, and he still meticulously checks everything!
As we began this week of de-leavening, he texted me, and in his words, he was "livid." He discovered leavening was listed on his bag of French fries! Who would have thought? He got rid of them, and all is well, but that is just an example how even trying hard, leavening (example sin) can sneak in.
The smaller children can learn quickly when taught. They can enjoy while learning as well. Explain to them, as you have them help you get the leavening out, the real meaning. How it began and what the meaning is to us now.
Make it fun having them clean their rooms and see what they can find, perhaps for a reward or something. Or you could have something special hid that they can look for, while searching for leavening, like that lost cookie.
1 Corinthians 5: 7-8 — "Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump as ye are unleavened, For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
And it goes to show, no matter how old you are, or how long you have been in the church, people make mistakes. Therefore, we cannot be puffed up. Just before we began the days of the festival, we thought we had everything taken care of. We were going to eat a snack. I offered David his pretzels that were setting there in plain view, and you guessed it. We then hurried out to dispose of them. Uh. Straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel?
Well, I'm not sure I lost any weight this week. We do have a recipe book full of yummy goodies that have no leavening, and we have been baking and eating, but we have learned a lot focusing on the true meaning of the festival.
And those young pranksters are all grown now, but I think most of them still play pranks on others. Our son, Eric, a grandpa now and a deacon in our church, is still making people laugh. I know one day he got a fake doughnut somewhere, and he slipped it in our Elder Brandon Flowers' briefcase!
We do have a lot of fun, but seriously, people do need a time to examine themselves and commit to learning, growing, and becoming un-leavened.