Dinner this evening was one of my favourites - roast chicken, courgettes, cheesy mash, green beans, gravy.... and sprouts.
Now sprouts are a bit like marmite - either you love them or hate them. (However in looks and taste they bearing little resemblance, other than being edible, and some would dispute that!)
I LOVE sprouts, they are one of my fav veggies. However, my husband is not that keen, so if we eat sprouts it is often because I have cooked dinner.
This evening, as I stripped away the outer leaves of the humble sprouts I was remind of Lent. Where did that random thought come from, you are wondering? Well sprouts are seasonal. They may be in the shops all year, but I only eat them during the colder months, when hopefully they have been exposed to a frost.
When I was a child many of our vegetables were grown in the garden or on an allotment. The rest were purchased from Mr Badger, the mobile greengrocer, who arrived in his battered van at the same time each week, offering a variety of fresh fruit and veg from the Vale of Evesham. We were used to the food on our table changing with the seasons. These days we are accustomed to the same foods being on sale in the supermarket every time we shop, and moan if they are not there, waiting for us! We have grown accustomed to a continuous supply of standardised veg.
Forty years ago we would have thought it foolish to expect the same availability week after week. What if the church year followed suit and instead of seasons we just remembered everything Christ did each Sunday. Would it be 'Ordinary Time' all year? My church is modern and simple, a 'no frills' sort of church, devoid of altar fronts or other mysteries. On Ash Wednesday we went to the parish church, and I remember sitting marvelling at the intricate stitching on the piece that hung down on the pulpit, an ornate gold cross contrasting richly with the purple cloth. The altar front was also purple and the clergy wore stoles to mark the season of contemplation, when we remember Jesus' time in the desert, battling temptation and winning. The church year would lose its richness if we did not celebrate the seasons - Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Pentecost, Trinity. Each season reminds us of a different aspect of our faith. Long may we keep celebrating our seasons!
Back to the sprouts....we strip away the outer leaves, so we can remove things from our lives during Lent - let go of excess, remove temptation, focus on Jesus and his sojourn in the desert.
As I turn the sprout over, I cut a cross in the base. The season of sprouts will end, just like the season of Lent will. Though even I hesitate to compare the consumption of perfectly cooked sprouts with the resurrection of Christ! However, just as our sprouts were marked with a cross, so Lent begins the journey to the cross. Food for thought....