Making Great Bread
Therefore if anyone be in Christ, that person is a new creature. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
One of the people I respect the most in the world died a few years ago. He is Bernie Glassman, founder of The Greyston, a bakery in Yonkers that employed people after they got out of prison.
I like people who do things. Glassman did things.
One of the things I don’t always like about people who do things is the way they take themselves too seriously. That’s why I treasure the clown nose that I got after Bernie’s funeral. Bernie had a red clown nose that he wore in meetings whenever he thought people were taking themselves too seriously. At his funeral, at a certain moment, the packed house all put on red noses to indicate their love of Bernie’s powerful sense of non-attachment. Yes, he was an engaged Jewish Buddhist. Yes, he was an intense activist. Yes, he had a clown nose. Yes, he was all those things on wheels.
I’m not sure that becoming a new creature is something that gets done once and for all. In fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. We can be self-obsessed. We can forget about another people’s suffering. We can forget the name of Jesus at dawn, at noon, and at eventide.
Becoming a new creature appears to be a full-time job—that pays very well and employs people who have just come out of prison, over and over again.
When we take ourselves too seriously, O God, tell us a joke. Amen.
Donna Schaper works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.