Friday, November 27, 2009

Deuteronomy 8 Thanksgiving Salad

Happy Thanksgiving! Okay, so it's a couple days late, but surely some of you out there are still eating leftover turkey and cranberries! ;) In the spirit of feasting... I thought I'd share a rather special salad with you, a salad with a story to tell about that for which I have the most to be thankful.

I actually came up with this salad combination a week or so ago, just because it seemed to be a good combination of flavors to complement the fresh pomegranate I had. But at our Thanksgiving service Wednesday evening, I was inspired by the meaning behind this combination...

You see, this is the Old Testament text that was read:

Deuteronomy 8:1-10 (NIV)
Do Not Forget the LORD
1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

This text really struck a chord with me. After all, It's been since 2006 that I've been dealing with these health issues... sort of wandering around in the wilderness of conventional treatments and natural health... unsure where to turn for healing. At times I was literally starving to death as my body rejected food. However, all along God has continued to take care of me, keeping me fed, clothed, and sheltered. At least for me it's only been about 4 years, rather than 40. Now I am on a raw vegan diet (eating lots of things like figs and pomegranates and grapes), and under the care of a doctor who is a descendent of Israelites. I think that's pretty neat. This diet seems to be the best to keep me healthy, and I'm so thankful to finally have some answers, and to be on the right road to health.

So anyway.... back to the salad. It occurred to me while listening to the OT reading, that I had pretty much made a salad out of the foods that were listed there-- at least the ones I can eat. Since I can't have wheat, barley, or honey due to food sensitivities, those were out. However, if you were to include the wheat and/or barley in the form of croutons, you would have a salad that tells quite a story. Here's the (more or less) recipe, and then I'll explain:

Deuteronomy 8 Thanksgiving Salad

Salad ingredients:
Mixed baby greens/spring herb mix
dried figs, sliced lengthwise
fresh pomegranate seeds from about 1/2 pomegranate
red grapes, sliced lengthwise
wheat/barley bread croutons

Dressing ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
honey to taste
sea salt to taste

First, mix the dressing ingredients and adjust to taste. Then, mix the salad ingredients (minus the croutons) together in a bowl other than the serving bowl, reserving a small amount of each to arrange on top of the finished salad. Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing to coat. Empty mixed salad into a pretty serving bowl. Arrange the reserved ingredients artistically on top, now including the croutons. Serve, and reflect on the following:

The FIGS remind us of the Garden of Eden: the beautiful world God created, and all his creatures. God created man in his own image, both male and female: Adam & Eve. Mankind fell into sin by disobeying God, and covered their nakedness with fig leaves.

The WHEAT reminds us of Bethlehem, the Hebrew "house of bread." There, God sent His Only Son into the world as a tiny baby to live a perfect life and suffer the consequences of man's sin by dying a terrible and cursed death on the Cross. We are also reminded that Christ is the Bread of Life, and that He gives His Body to us in the form of Bread in Holy Communion.

The BARLEY reminds us of the five barley loaves (John 6) given to feed the 5,000. It reminds us that God provides for our daily needs: "Give us this day our daily bread."

The OLIVE oil reminds us of the Garden of Gethsemene on the Mount of Olives, where Jesus was delivered into the hands of those who would nail Him to the Cross.

The POMEGRANATE has traditionally been a symbol of the resurrection. It reminds us not only that Christ rose from the dead, showing us that His death was indeed accepted by God the Father as the full payment for our sins, but also that we too shall rise, and live forever in heaven if our faith and trust are in Christ.

The HONEY reminds us of God's promises: He has given us His Holy Word, especially the Gospel, which is "sweeter than honey" (Psalm 19, 119; Ezekiel 3, Rev. 10) and has promised to ultimately bring us to "a land flowing with milk and honey" in Heaven.

The GRAPES (fruit of the vine) reminds us of the Feast in Heaven and the way in which Christ is now present with us in the Wine of Holy Communion.

The Story of Salvation. Now THAT's something to be Thankful for! Thanks be to God for sending Christ to pay our debt and invite us to the greatest Thanksgiving Feast of all in Heaven!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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