Monday, November 25, 2013

Menu Planning and the Holy

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I've talked from time to time about Thanksgiving...with that holiday just a couple of sleeps away (an interesting way to mark time that I've really only recently heard)  I'm thinking turkey again.

If you've been around Beer Lahai Roi for more than a year or two, you know we do traditional around here.  No fancy new recipes, no forays into alternative main dishes.
The menu changes not.

Turkey and my grandma's dressing (made with white bread, thankyouverymuch)
mashed potatoes and gravy
my mother's candied sweet potatoes
My Sweet Babboo's mother's green bean casserole 
Aunt Judy's apple salad
Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce
cheese tray
relish tray
rolls (if I have time, my other grandma's dinner rolls.  If not, well, I punt.  For various reasons, this year it's Sister Schubert's...)
pumpkin pie
Aunt Ruth's pecan pie

The Princess is insisting on bringing macaroni and cheese this year, even though I've maintained we really don't need another starch.  She says she has a fancy recipe that she wants to try.  So, well, it'll go on the buffet with the rest, I guess.

But, really, aside from the mashed potatoes, the whole menu is something that I just don't make any other time of year.  And even those will be potatoes that we peeled and cooked and mashed, not instant, which is the usual.

I love turkey.  Really.  But I only cook turkey on Thanksgiving.

Because it's special.  I mean, if we ate turkey on a regular basis, what would be special about Thanksgiving?

And as I've pondered the special menu, I've been reading in Exodus.

Last night it was chapter 30...the last bit of which consists of God's very specific instructions about anointing oil and incense.  Look at what God says about these concoctions:

This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations.  It shall not be poured on the body of an ordinary person, and you shall make no other like it in composition.  It is holy, and it shall be holy to you.  Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.....make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy.  You shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you.  It shall be most holy for you.  And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves.  It shall be for you holy to the Lord.  Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people. (Ex 30: 31b - 33, 35 -38, ESV)

When I read Leviticus for the Faithful Friday posts, I looked at the word 'holy' and wrote that it means 'set apart as special' and I realized all over again this week just what that meant.

It means it is reserved for a special purpose.  It is not ordinary.  Just as our Thanksgiving menu is reserved for Thanksgiving, and kept only for Thanksgiving, in order to make Thanksgiving a special day, things that are designated as holy have a unique service.  The anointing oil was reserved for the sanctification of the priests.  The incense was to be burned only in the presence of God, in the Most Holy Place.  Any other use of either of those brought dire consequences.

Because it was holy.  Special.  Dedicated.  Using it for ordinary purposes would detract from its distinction...just as eating roast turkey and dressing for random meals would detract from the celebration of Thanksgiving.

Once again, I come face to face with the fact that God's instruction to me to be holy is not about walking in piety, although that could well be part of it.  It is not about living by a strict code of dos and don'ts, although certainly there are standards.  It is about recognizing that I have been set apart for HIS purpose, and I am not to let myself fall into the trap of being indistinguishable from that which is not set apart for Him.

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