Friday, January 31, 2020

"Taste and See" (5)

You are the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)

The theme of chapter 4 of Taste and See by Margaret Feinberg is salt. The author visits a salt mine, and ponders on the significance of salt in some of the stories in the Bible. Discussing the declaration by Jesus that we are the salt of the earth, she points out that salt is used for preserving, flavoring, and fertilizing. -- I had never associated salt with fertilizer until I read this book, and I'm thankful for the fresh perspective.

At the end of this chapter, on page 114, Margaret refers to a passsage in Talmud and encourage us to try to ease 1/60 of the pain of someone who is suffering. It is a great wisdom.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

"Taste and See" (4)

Chapter 4 of Taste and See by Margaret Feinberg is titled A Loaf of Bread Just Out of Oven. The writer bakes unleavened bread called matzo and reminds readers of some of the stories in the Bible in which bread plays an important role.

Margaret associates making and eating bread with the importance of community. I have to confess that pages 88-89 of this book almost bring tears to my eyes. Basically, I am a loner. I've come to suspect that my brain has been wired in that way, and I've made up my mind to stop blaming myself for being a selfish loner... Jesus loves recluses, too, doesn't He?

I am interested to bake some matzo following the recipe in this book, but I would probably do so by myself, thinking of those who have produced, processed, transported and sold the ingredients, thanking God for giving them to me, and praying that my best friend, Jesus, would help me make a close friend.

Shmura Matzo

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

"Taste and See" (3)

Chapter 3 of Taste and See by Margaret Feinberg is about figs. I'm interested in this chapter partly because it reminds me of the fig tree that used to be in front of our house in my childhood. Every summer, we enjoyed harvesting and eating the fruit, though there were years when we had only a few. I loved the fig jam my mother made.

Back to the book, the author writes about her visit to a fig farm, and the stories about figs in the Bible, explaining what the tree and fruit symbolize in them. 

As in the previous chapter, I found myself in tears reading the last section. It was so poignant and encouraging. I hope I'm not infringing on her copyright by adding that I trust in the Lord who is working to bear fruit in me, even if I may appear to have none or few. 


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

"Taste and See" (2)

I read Chapter 2 of Taste and See, an amazing book written by Margaret Feinberg. 

The author visits the Sea of Galilee and goes fishing with some local fishers. She writes about her adventure and the stories in the Bible, which teems with fish. I am inspired by the way she retells these well-known stories, and at the end of the chapter, she encourages readers to think of all the miracles in their lives. Thinking of some of the major miracles in my own life, miracles in which I have witnessed the work of God, I found myself on the verge of tears. The miracles include becoming a Christian at the age of 21, getting my dream job as a high school teacher, surviving clinical depression, and serving as a church organist, to name just a few.

Monday, January 27, 2020

"Taste and See" (1)

I've started rereading Taste and See by Margaret Feinberg. I heard of this book when I was listening to the Discover the Word series Taste and See, where the author was interviewed about the book a few months ago. I was so interested in her talk that I gave myself this book as a Christmas present.
When I got the book, I read it in eight days, a chapter a day. I didn't have time to write about this book then, but now, I am going to read it again so that I can think more about it.

Chapter 1:
Following the mouth-watering and heart-warming description of the most memorable meal in Margaret's life, she discusses the importance of food and meals in our lives. Food nourishes not only our bodies but our souls.

What is my most memorable meal?
It is not easy to decide which one is the most memorable... A number of them come to mind. 
  • the first meal I cooked with a friend of mine in the university dormitory, sauteed pork,  vegetable soup and rice. He suggested we should buy a can of demiglace sauce for the pork, but I insisted just a dash of soy sauce would do. 
  • the udon noodles with beef in it, which the friend cooked for supper in his apartment on a freezing day
  • the extremely salty spaghetti my father cooked for lunch on a Sunday when I was about seven years old 
  • the omelet my father cooked for lunch on another Sunday, on which we draw a funny face with ketchup sauce when I was about four years old
  • the trout sushi of Toyama that Aunt Hana and I had on the train on our way back from Kanazawa when I was five years old-- We had visited her daughter in Kanazawa, who had just had a baby.
and more....

Which one is the most memorable? If I were forced to choose just one, then I should say the first one. If I remember correctly, we didn't use store-bought demiglace sauce. It was interesting to find out that his family often had demiglace sauce with sauteed pork, while my family never thought of buying canned demiglace sauce at a supermarket.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Discover the Word

One of the websites I visit almost every weekday is Discover the Word, where we can listen to their  radio programs, a series of 15-minute small group Bible study. Through their conversations, I've 'met' new people, learned about interesting books, got new insights and, been inspired to study the Bible more deeply. I'm thankful that I can listen to the programs on the Internet.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Inner Voice of Love

I've almost finished reading The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouen again.  I got the book about ten years ago, and I have read it a few times before. Every time I read it, I learn something new from the book.

This time, I was most deeply impressed by the chapter "Know That You Are Welcome" (pp101-102).

Everything Jesus is saying to you can be summarized in the words "Know that you are welcome." 

"Know that you are welcome."-- What a powerful statement! 

I am welcome.  -- I am loved--unconditionally.  

The Inner Voice of Love
(Henri J. M. Nouen)
ISBN 0-385-48348-1

Choosing the Pain of Loving

On that day,
choosing the pain of loving,
over the pain of not loving,
I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour.

overwhelmed by the pain of loving,
I have ended up withdrawing into myself
again and again.

I have often succumbed to the temptation
to be a lonely bystander.

let me breathe in
Your Spirit,
Your Love,
so that I may have a courage to love again.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

God who Allows Suffering

I've completed a course titled Ten Reasons to Believe in a God who Allows Suffering at Our Daily Bread University. The convincing lessons, which often brought tears to my eyes, help me trust in God more deeply.

(I am a survivor of clinical depression. I am surviving physical pain now. )