Herbs and Spices: Enhancing the Flavour

The rice was plain. The chicken was plain. The vegetables were plain. That was what they were used to. Other than a bit of salt, they didn’t want their meal any other way, because they never had their meal any other way.

That changed when they were invited to taste a meal at their new neighbour’s home. Even before the food arrived they were pleasantly enticed by the smells. The aroma was rich and multi-faceted, it had an effect on their taste buds that they had not experienced before. The connection between smell and taste was more potent than they had known it before.

Then the food came out. They were told it was rice, but it certainly wasn’t plain. Overcoming initial scepticism at this different way of preparing and presenting rice they tried some. Then tried some more, and some more. They were amazed at what they were enjoying, so rich and filling in and of itself. The way the vegetables appeared was so different to what they had eaten before, but the rice had given them the courage to give the new setup a try. The wide eyes and broad smiles of delight were all that was needed to show their full acceptance of the vegetables. Someone mentioned that vegetables had always been something they avoided because it didn’t taste that appealing, but now they had to change their approach – this made vegetables all the more appealing without the use of anything artificial and unhealthy.

As they mixed some of the rice with some of the vegetables, they were all crowing about how gorgeous the smell, the look and the taste of this delicious meal was. That was before the chicken was unveiled.

By the time they had tucked away all that food and discovered how herbs and spices played a crucial role in the experience, they couldn’t hide their excitement and desire to know how they could bring this diversity into the mix of their own concoctions.

They were surprised to discover that which was new to them had been practised for longer than their plain old approach and it was about making the most of all that was given to them to create mouthwatering and belly-filling experiences like these.

That’s how they enhanced the flavour.

(Photos: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

The Plant: Fragile to Flourish

There it is. The first signs of growth. Bursting through the soil reaching tentatively to the sun.

There are so many factors going against it. What if there are is an adverse climate? What if the surroundings are made hostile? Perhaps a rodent or pest may trample it down before it ever has a chance to really get to its fullness. There is no guarantee that it will survive from day to day.

Yet, somehow, despite the factors going against it, it does not just survive, it thrives. Adapting to its environment, drawing nourishment and strength from within and it’s roots, that fragile looking plant slowly but surely finds its place and flourishes. It is a beautiful sight that did not happen overnight and was not always meant to happen, but from deep down within it flourishes from the inside out and its flourishing is a blessing to those who see it for what it is and how it has got there.

It’s flourishing may last but a brief time, but the ripple effects may last way past its time on earth.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

The Kettle: Patient Passion

The kettle.

It contains water. Water that is in the process of going from one temperature to another. The state of the water previously was not good enough for the task required. The final state of the water will reach will be perfect for the task. You just need to raise the heat over time. In the suitable container that process can take place to the benefit of those who need the hot water.

Some people like it hot. Some people need it hot. Where are the kettles who can take the heat to deliver the goods?

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

How The Story Goes

It can come across as rather presumptuous to think you know how the story goes. After all, what makes you think you know. Who are you anyway? What do you know?

So at best it’s good to just let the story tell the story and not get involved in things you know nothing about.

That’s one approach.

But consider what’s happening in the story – the mess ain’t getting any tidier for all the pleasant sentiments, for all the outrage, for all the campaigns, for all the innovations. The mess might be glorified better, it might come across as more sophisticated, it might be justified as a part of the way things are or the way things must be. All of that, however, does nothing to deal with the mess.

Some might give the impression that the mess is all there is and we just have to get accustomed to it. Make the best of the messy situation.

Ahhhh but in as much as that works for some, it is not how the story goes. Someone lived in a way that showed there’s a better story to be told.

So the mess in me, the mess in my community, the mess in the church, the mess that is the world – it does not have to be that way.

That’s not how the story goes.

There’s a better story to tell – want to hear it? Want to write the next chapter in it? I got this idea for a project and what happens is …

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Running By The Rules

There is a saying going around that says that following Jesus isn’t about rules, it’s about relationship.

I hear that. I certainly get the gist of what it looks to oppose. There is a very real legalistic streak among some of us that is so rules oriented that the purpose of living and the real spirit of life gets extinguished.

Yet can you think of a world without rules? I mean the basics. Doesn’t your body operate by rules – you know, the way it says if you drink too much of one thing you can expect a shut down soon.

And anyway, don’t even relationships operate on rules? Informal, unwritten and casual though they may be, break them and see what happens. What happens when someone trusts you with something important to them and you break their trust. Tell me it’s not about rules then.

This is why the relationship with Jesus operates by understanding His own rules. You don’t have to get hung up on the rules side of things, primarily because the relationship is about liberating you to truly become what you were created to be.

That’s why it’s certainly worth knowing, in the race of life, what the rules are. It would be a shame to run it and lose because you were disqualified. It would similarly be tragic not to finish the race because you did not make the most of the support available to run the race well. The rules gives a lot of scope for help in excelling in running. The support on your side, if you choose to rely on it, will not just see you make it across the finish line, it will allow you to do it and win the prize.

That’s all there in the rules – if you take the time to check them out. Rather than than run into a dead end.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Affirming the Blessed

It has been a fair few centuries since He said it, but I wonder if the church He died for would recognise and affirm those He referred to as the blessed.

Those 8 characteristics are as counterintuitive and countercultural now as they were when He shared them with His disciples way back then. Sometimes in the bid to be people-pleasing and attractive to the eye, much is said to sell Christianity as something worthwhile because it’s like wish fulfillment, where all your wildest dreams come true and phrases about having the best in this life are appealing and gratifying, especially as they often coincide with what the world and the flesh suggest would be the best in this life – security, comfort, material benefits and happiness.

It’s jarring, then, to hear Him once more make the clarion cry that the blessed pursue something of far greater worth than security, comfort, material benefits and happiness. Indeed the blessed turn a lot of what others would deem that which truly makes us happy to that which ultimately makes us holy – not for our sake but for His Name’s Sake.

Yet how do we actively affirm what He referred to as the blessed?

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

The Hub

One of the best memories I have in life is of The Hub.

My good friend Andy lived in a place that we loved to refer to as the hub, where God could do business with us because it was a place of transparency, hospitality and honesty that encouraged vulnerability. The occasions I would enjoy just sitting on the sofa at his place as we went from laughter to tears and back again, deepening friendships and being a lot more aware of the issues that prevented people being real.

Being a hub turned out to be not just about a physical location. It was an agreement among brethren. The environment could be created anywhere as long as saints were of the same mind and heart. Not to perpetuate rituals for the sake of it, but to relate to each other and God as time allowed.

This was not an exclusive club for believers that was inaccessible to those who were not as yet believers. The conversation was about life. Points in which people could connect and then get to see a gospel perspective.

I love The Hub and am grateful for the lessons learned from the experience that I have the privilege of practising today.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden