the relationship between celebration and the generous heart (foodie post)

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Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!Genesis 1

IMG_7822It’s time – after a week of very deep, thoughtful, theological reflection – to balance things out a little with another “Foodie Post.”

First, though, I’d like to thank everyone for the (ongoing) constructive conversation around the Bible, The Word (Jesus), logos, scripture, context, faith, and women in ministry. Adam and Sierra in particular provided some excellent food for thoughtful consideration… Thanks for your faithful witness.

FOODIE POST: Okay, now down to the subject de jour. This week, Rebekah upped the ante in terms of the “gourmet challenge.” Instead of picking one dish, and then having me pair it with routine veggies and starch, she picked three! We were having friends over for a dinner party, so it was a great idea.

Consequently, I completely covered every inch of our kitchen counters with prep, filled around 15 different sized dishes with pre-chopped, pre-grated, pre-sliced, and pre-measured fresh ingredients, then coordinated all the cooking over the last 90-minutes so that – in one triumphant flourish – everything appeared on the dining room table at precisely the same time!

IMG_7817FRENCH CUISINE: This time, everything came from the new French cooking book, Barefoot in Paris. The recipes are still difficult, but definitely approachable. I know you’re probably anxious to scroll down to the pictures, but I have a few words first, if you will indulge me.

Today’s theology (God-thinking) comes from the discussion I enjoyed this morning with one of the men’s Bible-study groups at WFPC. We are talking about giving, and how giving that means anything always seems to flow out of a heart of gratitude.

IMG_7801Then, and this was really cool, we talked about how God expects us to enjoy our lives, and to celebrate with thanksgiving all that we have, embracing our blessings as well as sharing them, and giving them away!

In other words, there is a spiritual value to enjoying the good things in life. We are more equipped, prepared, and able to give generously when we are also prepared to thank God for what we have by taking joy in our blessings.

Say thank you! Celebrate! Party! Cultivate generous hearts! Share! They are all related.

That idea really resonates with me.

WITNESSES TO LIFE! I know we’ve all seen bumper-stickers on cars, heard tirades on cable television, and read billboards along the roadside, featuring harsh, damning, judgmental messages “from God” to the world.

But imagine sharing the Good News out of hearts filled with gratitude and lives overflowing with celebration! Good news shared generously rather than accusingly! Thankfulness that can’t help but spill over as we live the gospel out loud!

IMG_7818-001PREPARATION: In preparing these difficult menu items, I realized how critically important it is to allow time for careful preparation, to assemble the best possible ingredients, and to learn from the recipe rather than cutting corners. Kind of like the commitment and intention we must bring to a practiced life of discipleship.

Here’s the result. I’ve annotate most pictures with descriptions.

Enjoy. Be grateful. Celebrate! Share – DEREK

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