If you have any expectation of staying clean while cooking (particularly baking, I’ve found), you’re wearing an apron. I personally have a terrible habit of remembering halfway through the recipe that I should probably put mine on. Cooking without something to protect your clothes gets messy– sometimes irreversibly so. I nearly lost one of my favorite cardigans (that I wear very frequently) to pulled pork juices in the crockpot last weekend.
We are trained from a young age to protect ourselves from things that might make us dirty. We put on aprons when cooking, gloves when cleaning the toilet, smocks when painting, old shoes when mowing the lawn. Particularly when something is a chore, we find ways to protect ourselves from being made messy. We don’t want to be unclean.
The Jews of Jesus’ time were much the same way. We need only glance through the books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy to get a feel for how easily one would be made unclean and the consequences of such a state. It’s hard for me to imagine not being permitted to attend worship once a month because of my monthly cycle (Leviticus 15:19-24). But yet, as Holy Week arrives, I am struck by the extreme gift that Joseph of Arimathea gave by making himself unclean in order to lay Christ’s body to rest, knowing that simply by touching the body of his dead savior, he would be unclean on the Sabbath day.
Joseph’s act is reminiscent of Jesus’ behavior while he was still in active ministry. A woman, bleeding for twelve years (!), is absolutely desperate for healing, so she risks all she has to risk. She reaches out to touch the edge of Jesus’ robe. (Mark 5:25-24) Because she has been bleeding, she has been unclean for just as long. For twelve years, she has not been touched by another person. Just imagine how isolating this would be, to be set apart from everyone for twelve years because you are sick, to know that anyone to touch you would be ceremonially unclean, separated from God and the Temple. You would be isolated from everything and everyone, including God.
So she risks it. She risks reaching out to touch the edge of the robe of the man she believes is her last hope. She risks making him unclean in hopes that maybe she could be made clean. She risks dirtying the most pure, holy, undefiled person to have ever walked on this earth.
And he blesses her for it. Continue reading
It’s been a busy few weeks for me, what between Easter, starting a new job and transitioning out of the old job, learning to drive a manual transmission, etc. As part of that transition, there has been a bit of a new budget to determine taking into account new factors such as a different income, a car payment and not having reimbursable meals through the week. All this together would reasonably precipitate a certain degree of anxiety. Thank the Lord, I do not struggle with anxiety, but that doesn’t mean that money and budgeting do not so very often enter my thought process (to be honest, usually multiple times a day), largely because I am still adjusting to marriage and a shared budget instead of my own little financial and budget world.
But thank the Lord for Easter.
Of course I mean that for all the wonderful, theological reasons (you know, that whole Jesus rises from the dead to give us an opportunity for reconciliation with God and an everlasting life part. That part’s pretty cool), and the fact it is my favorite holiday, but also because it left my fridge very, very full.
We were blessed to get to spend the holiday with three (and a half) good friends, enjoying a feast of wide variety and many leftovers. But leftovers and I have a mixed relationship.
Why I Like Leftovers:
- Pre-prepared lunches are way better than a cold cut sandwich
- Food my husband will eat instead of picking up fast food if he’s on his own
- There’s more! What’s not good about more of a good thing!
Why I Hate Leftovers:
- I don’t get to cook again for a while
- I run out of Tupperware
- Food might go bad before it gets eaten (it is easier for me to cook ingredients before they go bad than to make sure the last half-an-entree makes it into a lunchbox)
But last night I opened the fridge and was struck by something more than just how very full the fridge was and how I couldn’t find a place for my lunch bag: We have so much more than we need. Continue reading
A little over a year ago, my now-husband and I went out to dinner. When we had finished our meal, we asked our waiter for the check and were shocked to learn that someone, a stranger, had picked up our tab. What a blessing! Stunned but feeling so blessed, we finished our drinks, put on our coats and left the restaurant. (Then we went back to his apartment and got engaged, but that’s beside the point :P) What we didn’t do was pay the check a second time.
In this season of Lent, preparing for Easter, we focus on our need for God, our humanity and brokenness. We are reminded that “from dust you come, and to dust you will return.” We put ourselves into our own desert, committing to sacrificing something we enjoy (like meat, or fat, or Facebook or sweets). At my church, we are studying the Seven Deadly Sins. We spend the 40 days before Easter focusing on our own broken humanity. This prepares us for Easter by helping us recognize our need for the sacrifice He made on the cross, helping us to appreciate and internalize His salvation.
But what I’ve come to realize is that, for many, believers and non-believers alike, Lent lasts all year. Continue reading