on our living faith

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I found this prayer online last week and it really struck me so I wanted to share it:

God our Father,
if I could trace back
through the last two thousand years, marking out routes
from Jesus himself
and then through people
whose faith has touched others
and so reached me,
I would be astounded
by the individuals I would encounter.I give thanks, Father,
for all those people
over two thousand years
who have inspired others
and played their part
in passing on
to generation after generation the living heritage of their faith.

Especially I give thanks
for those who lived their faith
through difficulties
and hardship
and persecution.

I pray, Father, that I may grow in your faith and love through good times and bad.

Amen.

I didn’t grow up familiar with our heritage in faith of the church throughout the centuries.

If asked as a young person about the history of Christian’s faith and its value I would have probably despairingly pointed back to the early church and wondered if we could possibly recover their prayers and their ways of doing things since after all they were closest to Jesus’ time and Jesus Himself is our most important resource, no? But the truth is that the same Holy Spirit who lived in Him lived before Him, lived through the centuries and lives today. And He continues to draw all people (all!) to Jesus and to inspire many to follow Him in unique ways.

Not only that but Jesus Himself says that the Holy Spirit will teach great truths about Him to those who follow Him.

Eugene Peterson paraphrases it as such:

“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said.”

In other words, Jesus never said that “truth” ended in the words that described his life that we read in our Bible. And I think sometimes that in latching onto the “truth” that we believe is only held in Scripture or the life of Jesus specifically that we blindly miss what the Spirit has revealed through many other people about Jesus’ life and its meaning throughout the ages!

And so I believe that we can celebrate the great heritage of our faith by praying the prayers and learning the ways of the pilgrims, poets and ordinaries who have gone before us not because they had special access to God but because understanding Jesus and seeing Him in all the myriad of ways that we do is like looking at Jesus for who He really is – made beautifully more available to us through the love of pastors, evangelists, teachers who have cherished Him before us.

dump ranch recipe

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I love sharing recipes that work and here is one that I have been loving recently!

(Though first – “dump” ranch… yeah, I know… kind of a strange thing to call it and it doesn’t sound very appetizing but trust me it’s tasty!)

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had it with unhealthy choices over Christmas. Here is an easy recipe for Ranch dip that I love to keep in the fridge with a big container of pre-chopped veggies. I couldn’t believe how much it tastes like bottled Ranch dressing and I love knowing that the ingredients are all whole!

The most difficult part is the proper emulsification of the oil and other ingredients but if you have an immersion blender, you’re all set! (I did it once like the recipe from Whole Sisters originally states, but it didn’t work for me to simply put all the ingredients in and blend.)

(Whole30) Dump Ranch Recipe modified from Whole Sisters

Ingredients

  • 1 egg (room temperature – *Tip* Put the egg in a bowl of warm water for 5 or so minutes before you begin to bring it to room temperature. This is very important; otherwise your mayo won’t emulsify properly!)
  • 1 cup sunflower oil (or some other light oil)
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (I lean towards less in order to keep the consistency I like) *Again make sure that this is at room temperature for proper emulsification.

Instructions

Place the egg and 1/4 cup of the oil in the bottom of a wide mouth mason jar along with vinegar. Blend using an immersion blender for a minute or so. Add the spices. While blending again, slowly (!) pour in the rest of the oil. Then pour in the coconut milk.

All set! Chop up some broccoli, carrots, cucumbers and peppers, place them in a Ziplock container and you have a healthy snack waiting for you in your fridge all week!

on every little thing

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While I was away in Vancouver this past week, eating all the things and being surprised by a visit from my sister and brother-in-law, and drinking all the [Matchstick YVR] coffee, I had the opportunity to finish my 3rd book for this year: All The Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth.

It’s a memoir full of the best kind of redemptive beauty as she recounts being a child of an alcoholic dad and eventually pushing herself to become a successful doctor – though not without several missteps and losses along the way. But one line in the book called my name in particular.

Edie is recounting how her son Taylor reminds her of her Daddy who is now gone and she says, “I looked at Taylor and I saw Daddy, evidence of to me of how God is always redeeming every little thing.”

Stunning!

See, in church I learned that God is definitely in the business of redemption – that there is no sin so vast that we could ever be separate from His unconditional love, and that nothing is every lost in God’s economy – that kind of thing. But it sort of led me to believe that where we make a mistake or have a regret, God kind of smooshes it back into the bigger picture.

If you’ve ever made a watercolour painting before you might understand what I mean.

In watercolour, if you make an error, it’s pretty easy to add some water on top of what you’ve painted and swirl it into the rest of the image you’re working on. But I don’t think the ease of watercolour is the best way to think of how God works. See, God is busy redeeming every little thing because He wants his children to be the whole-est kind of whole – not stormy, wild abstracts, but detailed, history-laden, mature, grounded creatures.

Paul gets on a roll with this in his letter to the Colossian church, saying:

We look at [Jesus] and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment… He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross… by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! (Colossians 1:15-21).

I love the part where it says “people and things, animals and atoms” get properly fit together.

God’s care for us is not envisioned as broad brush strokes; but intimate gatherings of every single hurt, frustration, and tear in our lives back into those vibrant harmonies.

After all, it is Jesus who has put our lives together – Jesus Himself! When we trick ourselves into thinking that “everything will be okay” or “there’s something better for me anyways” I think we’re shortchanging ourselves out of the magnificent mystery of his great affection for us. I guarantee you that the way He works his redemption is beyond our scope, accomplishing the kind of detail we never thought possible.

In fact, I can recount something that happened to me just this past Christmas which I couldn’t quite put words to but which captures this kind of thing. M and I hosted the youth group at our church in our home for a Christmas dinner. It was chaotic and beautiful and reminded me SO much of these beautiful Christmas meals we used to host when I was part of a group home in Vancouver (a role which I sometimes miss dearly) – just all kinds of youth hanging over banisters, grabbing plates of food and decorating cards together – and this year’s Christmas party was just the best gift. It just seemed too perfect. After many years of missing this sacred chaos, I got to taste some of it in my own home in a new unique way.

There are definitely a multitude of ways that God’s redemptive activity expresses itself in my life daily – especially as I make a new home in Montréal.

Perhaps we content ourselves too often, believing that God cares for those little sparrows we often hear about, but neglecting to hold on to the love of God who cares that we miss that child, or regret the way we left that job, or wish that things might have gone differently.

God reveals His painstaking love for us in the ways that He puts it ALL back together.