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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kitchen stove as pulpit (a simple lesson in Grace)

to put off your old self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)

I walked past my fruit bowl looking guiltily at the pears. They sat on the sideboard forgotten and once beautiful. The last time I ate one my system was a little off. I hadn’t been back and they ‘d quickly moved well past prime. I just didn’t want to throw them away. Purposefully, I walked them into the kitchen.  Truthfully, I walked the bowl into the kitchen. I intended to use it for something else. Lesson One…we often pray (wish/hope/beg) when we feel we have nothing else. Sometimes we return to worship, return to God as part of a bargain. I don’t think He cares. He is expert at taking broken, misshapen, mistakenly deployed resources and putting them to right use. It’s what He does. He is God. 
sermon preached at my kitchen stove?
"let go and believe." there is nothing we can
do to become something new
and better without God’s Grace.

Purposefully, I walked them into the kitchen.  Truthfully, I walked the bowl into the kitchen. I intended to use it for something else. Once I washed and redeployed the bowl, I melted butter into a saucepan. Lesson Two…profound change often means taking the heat. I peeled and sliced the pears, or more accurately what was left of them into the sizzle and pop of melting butter. An idea was forming, and more than a recipe, it was a simple lesson in Grace.

I mashed the pears, let them cook down, covered the pot and walked away. Lesson Three…transformation by Grace takes time, and patience, and often some pain. (it probably hurts to have your form crushed to nothing by a potato masher).  I left the kitchen, trusting the process (Lord, let my faith be like my confidence in the kitchen) and went away to do something else. While I am patient in some things, I am entirely IMPATIENT in awaiting the Will of God. I know He doesn’t care about my impatience. He is God.

Maybe thirty minutes later I return to my kitchen. There is a caramel-ly golden, thickening, sticky mixture in my pot to which I add a little sugar, a little ginger (and then a little more), ground cardamom, and a wooden spoon for tasting. I am creating ginger pear butter from what would have been garbage,  or at the very least compost, and then there is the lesson in Grace.

We are, each of us, passed over fruit. A little bruised, a little wanting, awful sad. God sent me into my dining room this morning for a bowl and a lesson. In writing to the church at Ephesus,  Paul encouraged the faithful to leave their old selves behind. Who we were, who we’ve become, is not good enough for very long (like my pears). They (we) need Grace to be put to right use. They (we) have to suffer profound change, which probably means taking the heat. They (we) need time, patience, and faith.

What was the sermon preached at my kitchen stove? Sometimes you’ve got to let go and believe. My pears weren’t any good as pears any longer, and there was nothing they could do to become something new and better on their own. They needed transformation as desperately as we need God’s Grace.

Can’t wait to slather my gingered pear butter on some homemade biscuits…and when I do, I will have yet another reminder of the goodness of the Lord.

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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