Crab apple jelly (14-09-2021)
Reading (Revelation 21:1-7)
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’
He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
We are in the season of jam making. The glut of summer fruits means that now is the time to make jams and jellies. In particular it is the time to make crab apple jelly. Crab apple trees are lovely to have in the garden, they have beautiful blossom in the spring followed by small fruits which ripen over the summer. However, you can’t make crab apple jelly from the fruit of all crab apple trees, you need a tree that has large and sweet fruits. I have a lovely crab apple tree in my own garden, but you can’t make crab apple jelly from its fruits as they are too small and tasteless; they are only good for the birds to peck on and even the birds aren’t that keen on them. My mum, however, has just the right type of crab apple in her garden for making jelly and this year there has been a bumper crop of apples on the tree.
Last week I harvested the apples off the crab apple tree. Many of them were marked, some were misshapen but all were ripe for harvesting. After a good scrub, the small apples were cut in quarters and then placed in a pan with plenty of water and a little lemon juice. You don’t have to remove the pips or try to peel them (thankfully) as after you have gently simmered them, so that the flesh goes to mush, you strain the mixture through a cloth; in my case, one of Rob’s old, but clean, handkerchiefs. Mum and I watched as this lovely dark golden liquid came out from the hanky and it is this liquid that is used to make the jelly. All the marks and imperfections that were on the fruit don’t matter anymore, they have all gone, what you have is a pure, unblemished liquid.
I was reminded of the great hymn by Charles Wesley, ‘Love divine, all loves excelling’, where in the last verse he says:
Finish then thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be; let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee: changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place, till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.
We are like the fruit on a crab apple tree. Some are marked and blemished, some are misshapen, but as Christians we know that in the end all the faults with our earthly bodies will not matter anymore, we will be something else, something pure and unblemished, a new creation. I don’t know what heaven will be like, but whatever it will be like, it will be wonderful.
Creator God, you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. You created us and we know that one day we will be with you forever.