Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Savory to the Taste (07/26/12)
TITLE: Savoury of Sweet?
By Fiona Stevenson
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It was house-moving day and I minded the two small girls while their parents supervised the moving of the household goods. The morning slipped by while we sorted and packed the girls toys and books with time off to read a story or nibble biscuits dipped into glasses of milk. Lunchtime slid into afternoon teatime before the parents were free at last to take a break. A variety of sandwiches, pies, cheese biscuits and dips jostled cookies and cakes on a card table and a large pot of tea stood on the kitchen sink.
Mother had brought Emily a long meringue finger as a special treat. Emily appropriated a container of garlic dip and sat, dipping her meringue finger and munching with obvious enjoyment. I wasn’t tempted to try the combination!
Words are strong prompts of memory. Memory is often wild and unexpected, confusing scenes, scents and flavours; recalling names and places, and events both sad and sweet.
The church group spent a day on a member’s farm. We were celebrating a senior member’s birthday, and it was a day of brilliant sunshine, energetic fun and loads of laughter. The farm dogs joined in, forming their own team in pursuit of the football, joining in the races with enthusiastic laughing barks, and lolling with us in the shade when we stopped to recoup our breath.
There was an unorthodox member of this group of dogs, a sheep who had grown among them from poddy lamb to mature woolly merino. He did not know he was a sheep and baa-ed piteously when set among the other sheep in the field. Imprinted on his sheep psyche was a dog. When we ended the day with a barbeque this sheep-cum-dog joined the other dogs gnawing the bones thrown to them from around the fire.
Evocative memory. I can see the sparks, smell the wood smoke and the singed meat, hear the bubbles of laughter, melt into the loving fellowship of the family of God. It recalls the words of Genesis chapter eight: “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour...”
Noah’s offering was not simply meat burned in a fire: it was a token of thanksgiving and worship to a God who gave protection, grace and mercy; a God of love and of life.
But there came a time when the burnt offering became a ritual and the sacrifices a tiresome duty. Then God told His prophet, Jeremiah, “your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.”
How easy it is for us to take God for granted; to forget to spend time with Him, getting to know Him; to forego spending time telling others of His love and His mercy.
Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” Salt, not only a food preservative when used correctly, is also a flavour enhancer.
Ah, the flavour! The aroma of the grilling steak, the frying onions! The mouth waters while the nose twitches. A loaded bap and a shake of salt and I am set for a time of consummation. Conversation may come later. This is a moment to devour.
Paul reminded the church at Ephesus: “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour...”
It is a time of worship and we remember the words, we lift our hearts in songs of praise. The Holy Spirit comes in soul-saturating fullness and lifts the sacrifices of praise to the throne. There is a stillness while He searches our minds, renews our spirits, heals our hurts and satisfies our needs.
Are you hungry? Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Are you thirsty? “I will pour water on him that is thirsty.”
We gain strength and vitality from a well-prepared and appetising meal. But one meal alone will not suffice us for a lifetime. We need a meal every day.
If we are to gain spiritual strength and vitality we need a well-prepared study of the Word, and the participation with and encouragement of the church in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We need to worship Jesus.
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