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


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


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


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


C. L. J. Dryden

It’s Just Another Day

Becky knew she couldn’t ignore the alarm the second time.

It’s incessant repeating tune and vibration did not allow her to do anything other than stare annoyed at it. Not that she had been deep asleep. Not that she enjoyed a decent night’s sleep. Again. Just that the alarm ruined the usual delusion she gave herself that maybe today she didn’t have to get out of bed. The delusion that she didn’t have to face the screeching of her six year old daughter about how it was unfair that her four year old brother was getting the last of the cereal again. The delusion that she was actually waking up to the serene sounds of the beautiful waves caressing the shore in her fantasy holiday home in the Bahamas.

That alarm shattered all of those delusions. Again. Instead Becky would open the curtains drearily to a day that matched her mood. Lily would again screech that Jake had taken the last of the chocolate cereal. Becky would have to sum up the courage and strength once again to get these children in order before dropping them off at her Mum’s house before she went to work.

Her uniform hung off her slim frame and she couldn’t even muster a smile at what she saw in the mirror. Both her and the woman looking back at her agreed, if it wasn’t for Lily and Jake, there wouldn’t be much worth living for. She worked hard to ensure her children didn’t notice her weariness too much. She worked hard to protect them and worked hard to give them whatever she could manage to keep them happy. It was tough, though, she could barely make ends meet even though she was working all the hours available to her plus overtime whenever she could.

A lot of effort, a lot of work and a lot of weariness before and after it. There seemed to be no let up and she was concerned with what teachers were saying about Lily’s behaviour at school. Becky felt close to the end of herself. There was only so much she could do especially since the father of Lily and Jake walked out on them not long after Jake’s birth.

She was grateful to her Mum for looking after the children in the holidays, but she felt guilty at the pressure it placed on a woman who wasn’t as strong as she used to be. Sometimes it would all get on top of Becky and she would look for some respite through a night out with her mates. But she knew she would drink to much and that would lead to …. complications. Yet there seemed to be no other area to release all the pent up frustration.

Sometimes when the children were asleep, she would nurse a glass of wine and over time finish one bottle after another without feeling any better for it. Yet eventually she would drag herself to sleep … Only to have it wrecked by that alarm ringing the second time.

Was there really any hope for her in her situation or would she just have to deal with it as just another day?

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden

Faithful to the Mission

When I am asked to do something within my strengths and in line with my passions there is something about me that gets tunnel visioned. It’s as if I block everything out except endeavouring to excel in that area. It can be remarkably useful and also remarkably off-putting to others. As well as that, however, in time past I have placed a great deal of pressure on myself during and after the activity.

It’s not unusual for me to be heavily morose afterwards and needing to be left on my own to recover from that activity. Go ahead, say it, “That’s weird, CD.” It was the way it was for me for a long time. In some ways it worked, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a way of engaging with the things you love and look to use for the benefit of others.

One massive thing that has changed for me in recent years is a more considered approach to the whole process. My favourite time in that process continues to be the preparation stages. What I am learning to appreciate all the more is how important God wants me to see the need to rest in Him throughout the entire process, not just the preparation. That is something that helps me truly endeavour to trust God all the more through everything.

What that has also made me aware of is how great it is feeling I was faithful to the mission. Doing what needed to be done in the way it should have been done and leaving it there. Leaving it with God, who after all initiated the mission, so is more than able to see that mission accomplished for His honour and glory. It’s really just to enjoy the privilege of playing a role in that process.

It doesn’t negate the benefits of reflection and reviewing things. It just saves those around me the time having to deal with the hours of me being morose. The bigger picture is as well it keeps the focus on what matters – the mission.

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden

A New Month A New Season: Dryden Update

Thank you, Lord. July is over.

I did not dislike July. Quite a number of beautiful things happened over the month. Flicking through the blogs written over the month, I like quite a lot of what I wrote. Yet July is still a wilderness month in the summer. Never been a big fan of the summer and of July. Just a long month in every way with nothing to mark it out as a month to look out for – in my experience.

So for all the blessings I enjoyed in the month, I am very glad it’s over. And in a real way, the seventh month acted as one of completion and rest before a new month kicks off and I am particularly excited about the month.

Gotta be honest, the big reason for the excitement is the return of the football season. All the fuss around how things will be as the teams get ready to negotiate another set of fixtures and all that, I love it.

In more important things, though the thought of a new season for a game I love coincided with a thought about encouraging believers to cherish and embrace their call to service. Even as Jesus served and left an example for His followers to serve, there is something inherently out of sync in the life of a believer if they aren’t joining Jesus in serving others. It’s a concern of mine that this aspect of life in Christ is either neglected, minimised or left to refer to things that happen in the ‘worship service’ like ushering and the like. Folks from that type of Christian perspective won’t have a problem with that at all, but looking at how service was inherent in the life of God’s people in the time with Israel, how Jesus served and how service looked in the early church it often comes across as very different to how we get it and how we do it.

In any case, not just blogging and bleating about it, the verve is there to engage in and support others in getting involved in serving. A new season of service, if you will. Setting folks up to look at the bigger picture of serving and then identifying where they fit in that picture as we recognise what Paul told us all along that actually we are His workmanship created for good works in Christ that He has already prepared for us. That’s an outworking of the glorious salvation message we have received of the grace that makes us alive. We are saved and now we serve. It makes all kinds of sense – now it is about time we got on with it.

So those kind of things are keeping me going at this time of my life. I am enjoying writing a lot and want to get to do it a bit more often. I love my family a great deal at the moment and love the thought of doing family a bit more often. I love the Word of God and love the thought of engaging in it a bit more often and sharing findings with the saints as and when the opportunity arises.

Jesus is Lord and that is a beautiful fact. One of the things that meant a lot to me in July was appreciating that streamlining at times is a useful exercise to ensure as always I only do what God wants me to do and don’t get lumbered with well meaning baggage that takes up space and time that could be better invested in just doing what He wants. So for all the plans, schemes and dreams, I realise that it is good to be lead by Him to know what He wants and walk along the paths He sets.

So, with that stated, here’s looking back at July with thanksgiving and holding arms open with the broad Dryden grin in anticipation of the wonders August has in store. Thanks for taking the time to catch up with what’s going on with the man CD – keep me and my family in your prayers!

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden