3.29.2013

Did they kill him too?

I was listening to an old episode of This American Life the other day.  It was on "Kid Logic," and in one story, a dad shares about his four year old daughter's interest in Jesus.  She asks him all these questions about Jesus, they read a children's Bible together, and they talk a lot about his teaching "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  One day they were driving by a church and she saw a crucifix and asked her dad who that guy was up on the cross.  (I guess they never got to that part of the story.)  Her dad tells her that it's Jesus and that some people weren't a fan of his teaching, it was too radical, so they nailed him to a cross and he died.

A little while later, it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and schools were off, so dad and daughter went out to lunch.  At lunch, she noticed a picture of a man in the newspaper and asked her dad who it was.

"That's Martin Luther King Jr.  He's the reason you're off school today.  He was a preacher and he taught that people should be treated equally, regardless of how they look."

She thought about that for a minute.

"Did they kill him too?"


They did.  Actually, we did.  There may not be as much separating us from the actions of those who went before as we'd like there to be.  I have been humbled this week, following the movement of Holy Week, reading through the chronology of Christ's passion in the gospels and looking back to the promises in the Old Testament.  I can see myself in the people of Israel's disobedience and impatience, my pride in Peter's protests and denial, my inadequacy in the disciples' failure to stay awake and keep watch in the garden.

I was reading Psalm 22 this morning which begins with one of the seven last words of Christ: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It ends with a celebration of the suffering servant:

"All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him - those who cannot keep themselves alive.  Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!"

Yes.  Today, we grieve.  But we have the gift of living on this side of the cross, anticipating the feast. Because, He has done it.

It's a full 53 degrees in Chicago today.  Who would have thought that spring would arrive on Good Friday. And rightfully so.  We mourn the death of the Son of Man and bid farewell to winter - awaiting resurrection, welcoming spring and the renewal of all things.

We're having this Braided Cardamom Pulla bread for Good Friday communion tonight.  I've never been a fan of the communion wafer or bird-like bite of bread you're supposed to have.  I want to really taste it.  If we're going to practice communion as Jesus and his disciples did, then we should feast like they did.  I'll always remember attending a Good Friday service in Cape Town, where we had hot cross buns for communion.  So tonight, we'll break the bread and share the cup. Remembering the passion of the Christ and the love of the Creator with a cardamom-spiced bread fit for a king.


BRAIDED CARDAMOM PULLA
Adapted from Saveur
MAKES 2 LOAVES

INGREDIENTS

1 ⅓ cups milk, heated to 115°
⅔ cup sugar
3 tsp. ground cardamom
2 ¼-oz. packages active dry yeast
3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ½" cubes, at room temperature
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1 egg yolk
Crushed lump sugar, for garnish (optional)
Sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine milk, sugar, 3 tsp. cardamom, and yeast; stir together and let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. Add eggs; mix to combine. Add flour and salt; mix until a dough forms. Replace paddle with hook attachment; knead dough on medium speed for 2 minutes. While kneading, slowly add butter in batches, mixing until incorporated before adding next batch, 3-4 minutes; continue kneading for 4 minutes more after last of butter is added. (This can also be done by hand.  As I don't have a stand mixer, I always made/knead my dough by hand.  It's messy, but you can do it!) Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down dough; cover again with plastic wrap and let sit until fully risen, 30 minutes.

2. Heat oven to 375°. Transfer dough to a work surface and divide into 2 equal pieces. Set 1 piece aside and divide other piece into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion between your palms and work surface to create a 16" rope. Braid ropes together to form a loaf by pinching the three strands together at one end and braiding just as you would with hair. Finish the braid by pinching the ends together and tucking under the loaf. Transfer loaf to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat with second dough piece. Cover loaves with plastic wrap and let sit until slightly puffed up, about 20 minutes.

3. Whisk together remaining cardamom, cream, and egg yolk in a small bowl; brush over loaves. Sprinkle with sugar and almonds (if using); bake, one loaf at a time, until golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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