Nov 08 2010

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Milk vs. Meat?

roast beef & cheese?

clipart from http://www.designedtoat.com

by Scott MacBradaigh Swires

I’d like to think that I am no longer young in my faith. I want to be a grown up. I would love to someday be a spiritual Father, and even go so far as to say that I would like to be an Elder, in the Body of Christ. I have often gone through my checklist to meet the criteria: reading my Bible, developing radical prayer life, being married to no more than one woman (not hard in America), maintaining a healthy home, digging into the mysteries of the Kingdom (aka: moving from milk to meat).

Milk to Meat? Is that Kosher? A common complaint I have heard about dissatisfied church goers is that their teaching team doesn’t provide the “Meat” of the word. I recently had the pleasure of spending 2 weeks with a close friend who is a Rabbi. Things often became interesting at meal times. Not only did he have to watch what he was eating, with whom, and what had been previously on the plate. We ate meals off paper plates and drank from plastic cups. Seriously, how the plate had been used mattered. I go to Applebees and hope they washed it properly. A Kosher Jew can’t go to Applebees, because they don’t know if a non-Kosher meal was served on that plate. An open roast beef sandwich, with gravy and swiss cheese, would defile the plate and make it unusable. Some Jews believe it necessary to wait up to 6 hrs before they can have dairy after beef. But milk before beef is a lot different.

My Rabbi friend instructed me, because that’s what Rabbi’s do.  Milk symbolizes grace and Beef symbolizes judgment. He said that Rabbis teach that to eat beef and then drink milk would be like making a foundation of Judgment and then adding grace to it. Grace would strengthen the Judgment. This would make Judgment strong and harsh. But to first drink milk/grace would soften the impact of judgment/beef.  Whoa!

Whoa. Have I been using the graces/gifts of God to empower a sense of Judgment to those I encounter on a daily basis? Do I respond more out of Judgment than I do Grace? I have to say, I need a daily practice that reminds me to temper Judgment with a strong foundation of Grace. I often forget that it’s God’s kindness that will win the war.  No… has won the war. “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”(Romans 2:4)

We must now ask ourselves why we seem so eager to focus on what is scarcely talked about in scripture, versus the things that are emphasized. There must be a reason that the Apostles focused on writing about the basics of faith, hope, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness, and goodness. Just notice how many of those things are linked to just being nice to people. Maybe these aren’t the basics. Are they the great teachings we’re hungry for?

I say we start a Holy Revolution. Not 24/7 prayer, which is awesome.  Nor intense discipleship, which is needed. But let’s first take what we have been given so freely and use it to radically change the world. Let’s be nice. Let’s be nice when people verbally abuse us. Let’s be nice when they cut us off in line at the store. Let’s be nice when they sign us up for junk email. Let’s be nice when they insult us. Let’s be nice when they criticize our parenting.  Lets do this so that we can be nice when one day our liberties are stripped, and governments close our churches and harm our children whom we’ve desperately cared for, so that we can still be God’s Kindness on the Earth, and there can be a great Harvest during dark days.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Let’s put Grace at the forefront again and watch the World radically change around us.

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