David Lescalleet, IV performing at his Spring Concert.
Note: My 1o-year-old son (Jack) insisted that his mother (Kristin) enter him in the Kellogg’s Eggo Waffle Recipe Contest. The following is the recipe she submitted. I doubt we win but I thought points should go out for originality. Plus she made a tasty treat in the process…
This recipe works best when your youngest child comes to you and begs to enter a contest that you have no formal training to enter. I have found that a healthy amount of ‘wracked guilt’ for not doing more with said child is really a wonderful motivator for any such recipe. Of course if you find that this kind of guilt isn’t motivation enough, a simple phone call from your mother (or mother-in-law) should do the trick.
1. Begin by heating the oven to 400 degrees. I would encourage you to heat the oven only after checking the freezer to make sure your youngest child hasn’t already finished off his favorite Eggo Homestyle Blueberry Waffles and you have to make a trip to the grocery store—your third trip to the store because you forgot the damn fresh blueberries which resulted in the second trip.
2. Make Lemon curd (about six cups worth). The recipe for this important ingredient is very simple for any working mom who has three kids, runs a church office, home schools and enters cooking contests that she has no formal training to enter. Here is my recipe…
- Google Lemon Curd (over 4 million entries in less than 03 seconds!).
- Say a quick blessing prayer for Google
- Follow whatever Lemon Curd recipe looks the easiest and that you have the majority of ingredients already in the house. I find this saves on panic when you are at the grocery store on the first trip.
- Assure your youngest child that you know what you are doing.
- Assure yourself that you know what you are doing.
- Ignore your husband when he asks, ‘What are you doing?’
- Once you are done cooking the Lemon Curd you’ll want to put it off to the side to cool slightly.
3. Next, place your youngest child’s favorite Eggo Homestyle Blueberry Waffles onto cookie sheets and heat in oven for about 5-10 minutes or until brown. Interesting enough, you will need to turn them over about half way through cooking time so they don’t burn on one side and undercook on the other. And yes, I found this out the hard way. This is probably as good a time as any to suggest buying extra of your youngest child’s favorite Eggo Homestyle Blueberry Waffles. At least that’s what my husband said on the way out the door to make a quick run to the grocery store—our 4th trip. You’ll want to x2 your youngest child’s favorite Eggo Homestyle Blueberry Waffles if you are doubling the recipe or just a working mom who has three kids, runs a church office, home schools and enters cooking contests that she has no formal training to enter (or did I already say that?).
4. When waffles are done baking, let cool and place them in stacks of five (or whatever number your youngest child shouts out from the other room playing video games. After all this is mommy-son time). Pour the lemon curd between each layer. We like to pour the lemon curd when it is still warmish. That last instruction was from my teenage daughter who, as a result of this contest, has now been watching cooking shows and insists that the word ‘warmish’ is a technical term for any serious cook. She also wants to now know why I never entered baking contests with her when she was ten years old. I assured her that would be a conversation we would have one day when she is married with children and I call her on the phone.
5. Top each stack with either cream cheese frosting or whipped cream. I chose to make a cream cheese frosting simply because I’m not like those other moms who wimp out with store bought whipped cream. After all I love my child. For an excellent cream cheese frosting recipe see Lemon Curd recipe above and substitute ‘Cream Cheese Frosting’ for Lemon Curd. Add blueberries on top (for color of course!).
6. Serve on a plate to youngest child with love and bask in the smiles. I’m not a chef. I’m barely a cook. If the Eggo Homestyle Blueberry Waffles weren’t already made and ready to go I think I would have promised my kid a pony rather than enter this contest. But if I can do this so can you. Now pour the wine and go call your mother.
From James White: In Church History, we have come to identify the Friday before Easter Sunday as ‘Good Friday.’ It is on this holy day that we look back 2,000 years in history and remember when Jesus Christ was marched out of the city, up a hill and through voluntary action, allowed nails to be driven into his hands and feet. To be crucified on a cross between two thieves.
The amazing thing about Good Friday is that it was and is part of the “good” declared by God at the beginning—at Creation: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31, NIV). The Fall of Man was not good; our sin, disobedience, and as a result all the suffering from the beginning till now is not good. But God’s purpose in creation, and the redemptive drama that ensued, was and is and will always be good! In the Song of Creation, the Cross of Christ loomed large. Yes, there would be suffering, but none more so than for God Himself. God declared at creation, “It is good.” Consummated on Golgotha by the Cross, He then declared, “It is finished!” But it was never a ‘good’ designed for God; there is no good to be added, or deficit to be addressed, in His being. It was and remains good for us. Why? Because God so loved us that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Good? Good indeed!
Often times I am asked by church parishioners, “Why do we celebrate Maundy Thursday?” Hopefully what is written below helps explain the significance to celebrating Maundy Thursday as a part of the Passion Week.
A central portion of the gospel narrative is found in John 13 where Jesus prepares for His impending death by gathering His disciples in an upper room. There we are told that He performed the action of the household servant by washing the feet of His twelve disciples (John 13:1-17).
Maundy Thursday gets its name from the Latin mandatum novarum (“a new commandment” – John 13:34). A primary meaning of this service is to celebrate the giving of the new commandment to love one another, given in the context of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. The Maundy Thursday service renews the covenant between God and His people, as we are made ready for Christ’s death (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter Sunday).
In this ancient tradition, the church begins the Maundy Thursday service with a simple meal and follows with a corporate time of worship. At City Church we begin with a meal in homes and then gather at the church for worship.
Our corporate service begins by offering prayers and confession and the reading of the Gospel text. We then invite all those who are willing to come forward to have their feet washed. It is a very simple and blessed time of remembrance and reconciliation. This portion of the service includes a person placing his feet in a large bowl, water is poured from a pitcher over the feet and then they are carefully and slowly dried. Foot washing is two-fold.
First, it is a reminder that as filthy as our feet may be, they are nothing compared to the filthiness of our hearts. As humbling as it may be to have someone wash our feet, through this service let me invite you to reflect on what it means to have Christ wash our whole bodies from the inside out with His true act of service on the Cross.
Second, foot washing also reminds us that just as Christ served us we are to serve each other (The New Commandment). The symbolism of foot washing is rich and hopefully this experience will help focus our hearts to become true servants for each other and for our city. A central feature of this service is reconciliation. We are to go before God asking Him to help us forgive those who have hurt us and to use us as servants to others in whatever way He deems appropriate and as His providence leads step-by-step. The point is that we must “wash the feet” of others, not just ceremonially, but in reality.
Maundy Thursday is not only an evening for washing feet but it is also the occasion for taking the Lord’s Supper, since it was initiated on that evening before Good Friday (Luke 22:14-23).
Every time we eat of the bread and drink of the cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death, until He comes. It is at the Table that we join in proclaiming the death of God’s humble and suffering servant, our Lord Jesus Christ. As we share in this feast, we proclaim that Jesus Christ was sent by the Father into the world, that He was condemned to die that we might live, that He rose again in power, and that He will come again in glory.
For many these events seem far too ancient and removed from modern life. But when we soak up the narrative of Scripture, and are willing to enter into the life of the Christian community that goes back over 2,000 years, we will see that they embrace real meaning.
During the Passion Week, Maundy Thursday is followed by Good Friday, a Holy Saturday Vigil and then Easter Sunday as the glorious day of resurrection. Of course to fully appreciate all of Passion Week, you must first avail yourself to each service. Each highlights a portion of the Passion narrative that ought not to be skipped over just to hurry up and get to Easter. Take your time. Mediate and appreciate what each day is telling us.
Let me go a little bit further…Passion Week includes more than what I have highlighted above. To say nothing of the Easter season that follows Easter Sunday and the 50 days that lead up to Pentecost Sunday. The point is that the ancient church calendar is a great structure to offer context and deep symbolism to our Christian faith that connects us to the church that goes back 2,000 years. My prayer is that you will benefit from these ancient practices as the Lord allows you the freedom and joy to pursue them in ways appropriate to your faith in Christ as our Lord and Savior.
This is the third part of Matthew 18 verse 27. In this parable about a king who forgives his servant we are given three aspects to the act of forgiveness: The king took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. In parts one and two, we looked at the concept of ‘pity’ and what it means to cancel the debt. In this last part we looked at the understanding of letting someone go.
For some, when the read this parable, they see what the king did and they can’t wrap their mind around it. How could he let this guy go? He squandered all this money, where is the justice in that? People say this all the time, “I don’t want to forgive, I want justice!” Are there times that we must seek out justice in legal matters? Of course there are. But we must never pit forgiveness against justice. Unless one forgives before pursuing justice, you’ll only be going after vengeance. Vengeance is never about truth or justice – it’s only about you.
Only when you’ve really forgiven that person, you’ve really come to a place of goodwill toward that person, you really identify with that person, and you really care for the person can you truly pursue justice. Until then, you’re not qualified; let somebody else do it.
But there is another extreme to the understanding of ‘letting him go’ that is the opposite of vengeance. It’s withdraw…and just like vengeance is only about you – withdraw is only about you as well. But we are not to merely withdraw from a person either. Over in Luke 17 we are told: “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” ~ Luke 17
From Jesus’ parable that is recorded for us in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 18 verse 27 we are given the model for what Forgiveness is supposed to look like: The king took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. In Part I, I examined the first part of this verse: pity. In Part II we look at what it means to cancel a debt in relation to forgiveness.
If you want to understand forgiveness correctly, and even the whole parable, you need to realize the key is found in the size of this servant’s debt. The text (Matthew 18:21-35) tells us that this servant that the king forgave, squandered Ten thousand talents (think 10,000 bags of gold). Now all commentators point out that this is a ‘ginormous’ sum of money. The economic conversion rate would put this sum in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars. Some even suggest maybe even a trillion dollars. So this was no mere day worker. You have to think of the servant more as a head of state who through either mismanagement or corruption squandered a trillion dollars. Are you beginning to understand the enormity of cancelling this debt?
This servant didn’t just lose some money. He jeopardized the entire kingdom and it would have been just for this king to enslave the servant, his entire family and to seize what assets he had. This would not be done to cover the loss, that would have been impossible, but to simply punish. It would have been just on the part of the king to punish his servant for his actions.
But instead of doing that, the king canceled the debt. This was a huge act of forgiveness to say the least. HE forgave a debt that jeopardized his own kingdom.
So how does that work for us? Let me give you a simple example. I hate borrowing someone’s car. Because if I borrow the car and wreck it I know that I am responsible. But if I wreck it and the owner says, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll cover the cost.” It’s not that the payment goes away. It is the owner who is now absorbing the cost. He pays it himself.
This is exactly how forgiveness works. When someone wrongs you, when someone sins against you, there may not be a monetary debt but there certainly is an emotional one. Anyone who has ever been wronged knows this—that person owes you!
When that happens there are only one of two things you can do.
One is you can make that person pay. You can try to hurt them. You can gossip about them. You can slander. You can slice up their reputation, or when you see them, you can be cold. Or maybe you just withdraw your friendship, or you just berate them, or you really tell them off and you try to make them feel horrible. But when that happens, it is not that the emotional debt is being paid down. Rather it goes into you and you become like the other person. You are making the other person pay. But in turn it makes you bitter / self-righteous / cold. So what’s the alternative? You pay. How does that work?
You pay down the debt by identifying with the perpetrator, by seeking the person’s good. You absorb the emotional debt yourself. But fair warning, it hurts! But it will make you free!
Part I: The King took pity
In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 18, Peter asks Jesus about forgiveness, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Verse 27 gives us the model of what forgiveness is supposed to look like: The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. In these three aspects we see how forgiveness functions. Over the next three days of lent I would like to examine each of these aspects of forgiveness. Today we look at pity: The servant’s master took pity on him.
This is not just feeling sorry for someone. The word ‘pity’ is a very important word in the Bible because it literally means to have your heart go out to somebody which gets us closer to what Jesus is saying. But what does it mean to have your heart go out to somebody? It means you’re identifying with him. It means you’re putting your life in his life and you feel something of what he feels. Put it another way, you are identifying with the one who has wronged you. It means you deliberately do the internal work of reminding yourself of how much you have in common. You put yourself in the others’ place and you empathize, you sympathize , you are essentially looking at that person in his condition and saying, “oh, me too.”
Now this is not something the heart does naturally. The default mode of the heart does not want to identify the commonalities with your enemy. The unregenerate heart was to accentuate the differences. We do this two ways. Professor Miroslav Volf tells us that we accentuate the differences by 1. excluding ourselves from the community of sinners (I’m not like that person – I would never do that!) and 2. We exclude our enemy from the community of humans (that person didn’t just lie, that person is a liar!). We must identify with our enemies – putting our lives in their lives and feeling what they feel.
But when we seek to understand our own depravity and understand what has been forgiven in us (Christ our King had compassion, pity, upon our condition when we were still his enemies) we will begin to see our enemy in the same light.
Tomorrow: Cancelled the Debt