Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lent Ponderings {First Feast Sunday}

It's feast day...
Yes, it is... and a chicken is currently roasting in my oven as I compose this blog post. For this season of Lent, I am taking on the challenge of cooking all of our family's meals and refraining from eating out or buying take-out, even during feast days. On feast days, I have decided to make special meals instead... thus the roast chicken!

You see, we love eating out... and at times, it has become excessive... many, many, many dollars spent in restaurants that can be and should be spent helping the least of these. Now, don't get me wrong... I am not saying that eating out is wrong. What I am saying is that, at times it can be!

When it becomes "I deserve to..." or "I am entitled to..."

It has also become mundane... un-special. We eat out and consume without even giving it a second thought anymore... like it's a normal part of life... when in fact, it isn't!

The goal isn't to not set foot in a restaurant ever again. Far from! Rather, the goal is, that after this season of Lent is over, we will see eating out as a treat... as something that is special, to be enjoyed, to be thankful for... and to be mindful of many of our brothers and sisters who are the least of these, who don't even know what a restaurant is, let alone set foot in one!

As I read through A Place at the Table these past four days and practiced the discipline of cooking simple meals at home each and every day... I have become very aware of my own vulnerabilities. As Chris Seay wrote on Day 1:
... when we strip away the many comforts of our dietary pleasures, we may not like what we see in ourselves. 
In time it will become painfully clear that we are not the pilots of this ship. Submissions to our King is the only way forward.  
The only way forward...
Yes, in just four shorts days, I have realized that submissions to our King is truly the only way forward. As Chris puts it, "How will you stand up to your Pharaohs on this journey?"

Yes, we are slaves to many Pharaohs... including to our many comforts. The thing is... there are many of our brothers and sisters who are the least of these who, not unlike us, still live in slavery today... yet, there is no way they can stand up to their Pharaohs without our help.

I sincerely believe that it is through our submissions to our King, through our daily giving up of our many comforts, through our standing up to our Pharaohs... that we can, in turn, effectively help to free our brothers and sisters from the slavery that they are prisoners of.  

Chris writes about this on Day 2: 
When I look at the shelves of chocolate in my local convenience store, I know that much of the cacao farmed across the globe comes from children who are forced into labor due to unjust debt. But I ignore it.
Modern-day slavery --- it is what's been pressing on my heart these past few days. Cacao farming is just one example of many forms of slavery. How about the coffee and tea we drink? The sugar we sweeten our coffee and tea with? The clothes we wear? Let's not even talk about human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and pornography!

Friends, modern-day slavery is real. A crisis and an atrocity that we can no longer ignore! 

The thing is...
There are extremely simple things that each and everyone of us can do to help in the fight to eliminate modern-day slavery.

Such as buying only the chocolate products listed here. The Camino products are regulars in our home and I highly recommend them!

Such as switching to this coffee... a staple in our house or this tea... one I tried just this week and loved and this sugar! All three products are imported into Canada by Level Ground Trading, a company not only committed to "investing in job creation and organic initiatives," it also "provides school scholarships for over 200 children."

Such as checking this website first to learn how our favourite brands relate to trafficking and other labor abuses. I've found this website to be extremely helpful when buying clothing and footwear. Speaking of which, how about wearing our clothes and shoes until they are totally worn out before buying more so as to minimize our slavery footprint?

And how about human trafficking?
Just last week, on February 27, was Shine a Light on Slavery Day organized by End It Movement.

Personally, I once thought that human trafficking is just too big a battle to fight... that I cannot somehow do anything significant.

But, my girl has shown me the flaw of my thinking! In the Fall of 2013, she started an initiative called Freedom Creations. In this blog post, she writes about how Freedom Creations was born!

Because of Freedom Creations, my girl has taught this mama how to knit... for freedom! Last week, on End It Day, I posted this photo on social media... it made my heart skip a beat as I realized that there is nothing too small... nothing too mundane... nothing too insignificant that one can do to help in the fight for freedom!

Even something as small as one stitch... can fight for freedom!

You see, Freedom Creations in its short six-months of existence has raised over $1400.00 for International Justice Mission Canada! Yes, that's over $1400.00 to fight for freedom... all done one stitch at a time!!!

This is from Day 3 of A Place at the Table:
When we begin to take courageous steps to end poverty, modern-day slavery, and the water crisis, our actions easily multiply because of our influence on the people in our lives. When entire churches begin to feel a truly familial connection with the least of these, the world will never be the same.
The world becoming a better place... that, friends... is my prayer! Is it yours, too?

By the way, friends... this blog post has taken longer to write than anticipated. In between the time that it took to start and finish up this blog post, our family has had an awesome time of worship with our church family, celebrated with a brother-in-Christ who got baptized, and had the yummiest roast chicken we've had in a long time!

Chris wrote in today's reading...
... it will be a beautiful day of worship and an important part of our fasting journey.
Yes, today certainly was that... and more!

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I too, am reading A Place at the Table along with Jen Hatmakers book 7. Really makes you regroup. I love Freedom Creations. I know I say it all the time but you and Alyssa encourage me so much.

    Much love

    1. Hey Teena... yes, Lent really does help me to regroup too. Thanks for dropping by today! Isn't it great that we can all be an encouragement to each other, even via social media? :)