"So I'm learning to be open to growth. Learning to build my relationship with God on fresh experiences rather than borrowed, pre-packaged, flash-frozen or canned ingredients. Learning that there is so much more to being a Follower of The Way than 'Okay,' 'Good enough', 'Adequate' and 'This'll do'..."
This morning's post is a slight deviation from the content I promised yesterday. Mid afternoon I got caught up in another adventure for the "Gourmet Initiative" files, and a few things from the experience have charged my thoughts for today.
But, yes, there is a tie-in to the fact that we're in Holy Week! I've always been a decent cook, and I've never been afraid to tinker with my recipes from meal to meal. As a result, and over the years, a lot of the distinctions between my menu items started to blur, and a kind of "generic Derek" style emerged (Yes, I noticed that generic Derek kind of rhymes!).
Consequently, I've been a stickler for following directions since I made the "one brand-new recipe from the cookbooks each week" commitment for 2010. Essentially, I want to learn new "fundamentals", to make the specific sauces that are called for, practice various techniques, take the time to use the exact herbs and spices rather than just the ones I like - that kind of thing.
Rebekah's favorite dish in the world is lasagna. So this week I tried a recipe for lasagna from scratch. I even did stuff like crush and chop fresh sweet basil leaves rather than using the dried basil from my spice rack. The entire process, from heading out to the store for ingredients to serving, took four hours. But the result was awesome!
It turns out that fresh ingredients really do make a huge difference; that using an exact amount of oregano and a precise measurement of thyme is better than my "mixed Italian spices" standby; that the correct balance of mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese yields amazing results; that sautéing the mushrooms first will pay dividends when the dish is served....
That's been my "Lent 2010" in a nutshell. Faith is something I've developed over the years. I'm "pretty good" at doing this Christian thing and God has been a key element of my daily life for decades. But I seem to have been doing most of it "on the fly", using generic ingredients, happy to have enough skill to make it work but never coming close to being a threat in terms of greatness.
So I'm learning to be open to growth. Learning to build my relationship with God on fresh experiences rather than borrowed, pre-packaged, flash-frozen or canned ingredients. Learning that there is so much more to being a Follower of The Way than "Okay," "Good enough", "Adequate" and "This'll do."
The promise of Holy Week is the ending of half-measures. The momentum of Palm Sunday may have lost some steam in the disciples by the middle of the week. But Jesus was not fueled by other people's applause; Jesus was propelled into Easter by his decision to be all that God's will for his life imagined. Likewise, we can make the daily decision to listen to the urgings of the Spirit rather than falling back on the comfortable habits of the past.
All the best ingredients, coming together in response to our simple decision to follow Jesus.