Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Devotion Day 3 - Preparing a meal

Cooking and baking are probably two of my favorite things to do, and I know that my love of this came from my mother.  I love when you take several ingredients that are totally unlike each other and combine them to make something totally new.  Flour, sugar, and butter could not be three more different ingredients.  Flour comes from a plant, grown in the ground, gone to seed, harvested, and ground to a powder.  Butter comes from the milk of an animal after the cream has been skimmed and shaken.  Sugar also comes from plants, but is a chemical that is processed out and left to crystallize in a process too complicated to describe here.  When you combine them, you get something delicious!  These three things, when mixed together in the correct proportions and heated at the right temperature for the right amount of time, create a delicious treat!  Shortbread!

At Thanksgiving, there is more cooking and baking than at any other time of the year around my house, except for maybe Christmas.  With a turkey to roast, potatoes to mash, pumpkin to turn into pie, among other treats, the oven is a busy thing, and so is the kitchen!  With the main part of the Thanksgiving celebration centered around a meal, everything has to be done right!  My mom always oversaw the Thanksgiving preparations, and I was always fascinated with what she did!  She has a knack for opening the cupboard, smelling a few spices to sprinkle on a turkey, popping it in the oven, and making it the most delicious thing ever!  There is nothing better than walking into the house on Thanksgiving and smelling the Turkey she has been roasting!

Along with the usual goodies, my mom almost always makes fresh bread.  This practice began when she and my Dad were first married.  They were very poor and living off the small salary my dad was earning while my mom finished her degree and often had to search the couch cushions for change to buy their next meal.  She learned early on in this time of their life that bread was something she could make for a very little amount of money.  Recently, my mom wrote an article for my home church newsletter about just this thing.  In it, she talks about how the process of making bread helped her as a working mother of 3.  She says:

When my children were young, I often baked my own bread.  I loved the aroma, the feel, the waiting, and everything about the process of baking bread.  It started with nothing but an empty bowl, and it became something amazing by adding a living culture (yeast), warmth (water/milk), and food (flour/honey).  Often, as a busy working mother of three active children, I felt like an empty bowl.  Here was a chance to make something out of my emptiness.

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me shall not hunger.”  We, too, can be transformed from an empty bowl by the living culture of Christ himself who lives within each of us, the warmth of God’s love and the relationships we build with others, and food from God’s holy word.

Let’s Pray.

O God, you offer us a living culture, warmth for our bodies and souls, and food to fuel us when we are physically and spiritually hungry.  You have given us the recipe to lead a happy and fulfilling life.  When we feel our bowls are empty, help us to remember the way to fill them up again.  When we are fulfilled we are more ready to serve you and are more able to fill up the bowls of others.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

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