Walking through the neighbourhood today it is really possible to believe that Spring is here! Although we still have massive piles of snow, we also are acquiring massive puddles and massive quantities of mud, a large quantity of which was to be found on someone’s giant paws following our afternoon walk!
As Montrealers we all know that there will, most probably, be more snow (often a LOT more in March) but today, just for this one sunny afternoon, we can all pretend that Spring has come.
For me, that means a certain queaziness in my tummy as I think of just how soon we will be in the midst of the pre-Day Camps chaos (do we ever actually leave it??) with SO much still to do.
As an inveterate “Planner” and “List Maker” the Program aspect of Day Camps is something I can get my teeth into and enjoy. All those lists to tick off.........Program Manual- check, (well, almost, anyway), Supply lists- check, song CD (almost checked), well you get the idea.
But the “People” part, well there’s the rub. One cannot manufacture people, as in Team Members, nor can one simply put in place 27 host churches, the magic number we need for a full slate. And so the worrying and sighing and panic inevitably start to set in.
Lent really comes at just the right moment to save me from imploding! All of the disciplines of Lent force me to turn to the Scriptures (this year I’m reading right through the Psalms and highlighting one key verse in each one), to spend more time in prayer, to sit quietly and patiently building the layers of colour with the successive coats of wax and dye on my Pysanka and daily digging deeper into issues of faith. No, I do not always succeed in lifting myself above the worry but, mercifully, some of the peace does sink in and just sometimes I am able to totally turn the whole parcel of problems over to the Lord and know, really know, that we will find a way forward and that a plan will take shape.
In the coming week I plan to make the Team Crosses. This is a small act of faith in itself as I annually craft 24 crosses to be presented to the Team Members and Leaders who currently only exist in my feeble imagination and in God's perfect plan.
These crosses will each be placed around the neck of an eager young Mission Worker at our Commissioning Service. There may turn out to be a few too many but nearly all of them do get used for the very special purpose; God’s purpose, not mine, not the Day Camp Committee’s, but His.
Meanwhile the balance of my days this past week were filled with visits and “talks” with Team members past and present (I had a very pleasant dinner with Debbie and a lunch with Sarah).
And, while Klara is off in Germany I have been tackling a number of sewing jobs such as recovering 2 living room chairs, making Mr. Rabbit for my Godson Alexander’s first birthday gift, sewing some little “Spring” bags in which to carry my 2 cell phones (don’t ask) and re-lining a jacket for a dear friend who is currently enjoying a well-deserved holiday in Barbados!
I have a few more days before Klara returns but the coming week involves several meetings and other obligations to sandwich in-between my Lenten priorities.
Off to complete the Saturday Afternoon baking-3 Swedish rye loaves, several dozen cinnamon Zwieback, and an orange, raisin, chocolate, banana loaf!..........
For this week’s recipe I thought I would share the aforesaid loaf as it is a favourite :-
Chocolate Orange Loaf
8 Tbsps margarine, melted
3/4 cup sugar
4 small, ripe bananas, mashed
grated rind of 1 orange
½ cup chopped nuts
½ cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Place raisins and orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and cool. In a large bowl, beat together the melted margarine and sugar. Beat in the eggs and orange rind. Add the mashed bananas and mix well. Stir in the raisins, along with any remaining juice, chocolate chips and nuts.
Line a 4½” X9” loaf pan with parchment paper and carefully fill with batter, smoothing top evenly. Bake in a preheated 325F oven for approx. 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Keeps for several days and freezes well.
It was really lovely to walk home today without the need of a hat and gloves, but oh my! the mud puddles were pretty scary, especially when one is silly enough to wear a pale pink coat to church!
Along the way I hummed one of the songs which Blair had chosen today for our opening Worship time."Blessed be Your Name" is one of my favourites.
Today's Gospel was the Story of the Prodigal Son-Luke 20:11-32, or interestingly, as Nick entitled it "The Forgiving Father". Nick took this twist on the text and spent time speaking about just that- the forgiveness which the Lord always offers, no matter what sins we have committed. We also explored the fact that the father in the story actually celebrated by throwing a party for his son's return. In our after-sermon discussion, several people said that they could imagine forgiving their wayward child and even welcoming them back into their home but they could not imagine having a party for them!
We also explored what might have happened after Jesus told the Parable and how those hearing it might have reflected on it's meaning for them, in their lives.
Scripture is always so exciting because, when we read and unpack it, there is always some part that can speak to us today, even 2000 years after it was written!