Making Swiss Merengue Buttercream is always a slightly nerve-wreaking process. It involves combining egg whites with sugar to a precise temperature without actually cooking the eggs or burning the sugar, in a completely grease free environment, beating the tar out of it, then, adding the very thing you were trying so hard to avoid- grease (butter). Adding it very slowly, because if it’s too early or too fast, you’ll destroy the whole thing. (At that point I’m usually praying, please, please work out. I didn’t add enough overhead on this cake price to pay for another 4 # of butter….) And, for a while, it looks horrible. It gets totally runny, a chunk of butter or two may go flying across the kitchen, and it looks hopeless. Then, all of the sudden, it comes together and its gloriously beautiful, glossy, silky buttercream!!! ….sigh of relief…..
So what’s the point? As I was making buttercream today, I was struck by how much like community and the body of Christ it is. Having spent the last several years in a close community environment, I have seen lots of the good and bad that can come out of that. And it’s something that seems impossible and shouldn’t work for so many different reasons. Like the egg whites and sugar, it starts off with people that get along well, yet still have to go through hard things together until they are doing well, which is right about the time that someone that is something they don’t get along with too well gets added into the mix…. And it takes time to rejoin the community and create a unified whole again. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. I don’t think it’s supposed to be that way, but sometimes it is. And it’s costly when it doesn’t work. It can totally destroy the community, or sometimes it can be salvaged. But it’s never the same- there’s always a little scar where that person or group was- a sadness that it couldn’t be worked out.
But, sometimes, it works out!!! The conflicting people come together, learn to work together with their differences and all, and WOW! Beautiful, smooth, lovely community, with the whole so much greater than the parts. Sweet fellowship, openness, depth of communication, and love. Forgiveness and grace. Joy.
Just something to think about next time you eat a piece of cake…. <3
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.