Another lesson from the veg patch (18-09-2023)
Reading (John 7:14-24)
About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marvelled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.”
I don’t consider myself to be a particularly fussy eater, but there are some foods that I just don’t like. Possibly top of my list would be rhubarb and celery. I have disliked both of these since I was a small child. Disliking celery wasn’t much of an issue as I wasn’t alone in my dislike, no-one in my family, apart from my mum, really liked it so we didn’t have it. But rhubarb was a different matter, everyone else in the family, apart from me, didn’t just like rhubarb they loved it. I tried to like it, I really did, but no matter how many times I tried it, or in how many different forms, I still didn’t like it.
As I have grown older my opinion of these two foodstuffs has not changed. I have continued to try them both from time to time but there is something in their texture and their flavour that I just don’t like. Unfortunately for Rob, he loves both of them.
In previous ‘thoughts’ I have mentioned my attempts at vegetable growing. One of the vegetables that I have grown for the first time this year is chard. I had never eaten chard before so had no idea if I would like it or not. I grew five plants from seed, 3 have green stems and 2 have lovely red stems. The only problem for me is that the stems remind me of the two things I most dislike to eat, celery and rhubarb. The colour is the same, the shape is the same and the texture is very similar. This meant that when the plants were ready for harvesting, I ignored them and ate other vegetables that I have grown instead. Eventually I thought that I really should try the chard, I had grown it after all, and what was the point of growing the plant and not eating it.
I was not overly confident about what the chard would taste like. How could anything that so reminded me of celery and rhubarb taste nice, but it does, it tastes really nice. When I ate it, it didn’t remind me of celery or rhubarb, it most closely resembled spinach in flavour as far as I was concerned.
In our reading from John’s gospel you can sense Jesus’ frustration with the Jews he was speaking to. He wanted them to make up their minds based on right judgement and not on appearances. We are told elsewhere in the bible not to make judgements but leave judgement to God. That is not to say that we should not hold opinions, having opinions can be good, but we are to be careful about how we come to our opinions, we need to ensure that we have not been making assumptions along the way by basing our opinions on simply what we see.
My opinion about chard is now based on having actually eaten it, rather than my assumption based on what it resembled. Jesus tells us not to judge by appearances, yet how often do we find ourselves doing exactly that when we meet people that we do not know. Let us ask God to help us have open minds and hearts towards all of God’s people.
Prayer (from our service book)
O Lord, open our eyes that we may behold your glory.
O Lord, open our ears that we may hear your call.
O Lord, open our hearts that we may know your love.
O Lord, open our lips that we may declare your praise.
O Lord, open our lives that we may reveal your glory.