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Why the name "Second Rise"?

It’s 4:45 a.m. I’m sitting in the commercial kitchen space I rent, sipping the coffee I made a couple hours ago. Honestly, I don’t mind these super early mornings. There’s something lovely about the quiet predawn hours, and I think I was strangely made to be most productive before most people are up. (Just don’t talk to me after 6 p.m. today.)

I made my dough last night and stuck it in the fridge, where it doubled in size—as the yeast released carbon dioxide and created air bubbles, and the gluten stretched to hold those air bubbles. This morning, I punched down the dough, divided it, and shaped it into loaves. Now, it needs to rise in the pans to develop the right strength, size, texture, and flavor. This second rise is essential, and there’s not a whole lot to do but wait.

This waiting, though not always fun for someone who loves efficiency, is a needed reminder for me. The name Second Rise points me to the truth that many times, the most important work is not done while we grit our teeth to makes things happen (though that matters too). We need to rest—and like bread dough, our final product will be much worse if we do not. The weight does not all lie on our own shoulders. This is both humbling and freeing.

Second Rise has a couple other meanings as well. Dough is often punched down after the first rise to eliminate many of the large air bubbles. I love the picture of the dough climbing back up after being punched down—in fact, it only has the strength to rise in the oven because it has been punched down. In our lives, too, setbacks can lead to comebacks.

And lastly, but most importantly: “We believe that Jesus died and rose again” (1 Thes 4:14). What a crazy mystery—much more so than the transformation of a sticky lump of flour and water. I trust that Jesus died but defeated evil and death so that we too may live. And that brings hope—as well as true rest.

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