Thursday, February 23, 2012

Grapes & Raisins

Raisins are dried grapes.  Before a grape becomes a raisin it is filled with nutrients and as a member of the fruit group known as a berry - is full and plump and juicy.  Grapes may be eaten raw or they may be processed into jams, jellies, juices, wine, vinegar or raisins.  

A grape in itself contains the fullness of life as far as grapes go.  They are pleasing to look at, especially as they mature and become full and round - and right off the vine are a pleasure to consume.  When I was a child my father tried to grow everything and anything that he could on our property. We had apple, cherry, pear and even a peach tree.  We grew all sorts of vegetables in our annual garden - even raspberries, blackberries and mulberries - and yes, dad had a grape arbor.  We grew the big purple ones complete with seeds and a lot - more than dad ever knew -  never made it inside the house where mom would turn them into grape jelly.  We never kept a grape long enough for it to dry out and become a raisin.

A raisin is a dried grape and although dry and no longer juicy, it still contains a high level of sugars.  Like grapes - raisins may be eaten raw or cooked - my favorite would be mom's fabulous "Hermit" cookies which were three times the normal size and loaded with raisin (and minus the nuts which most of us didn't care for).  Although raisins no longer look anything like the grape that they started from, they still are basically the same fruit. They are still sweet and give pleasure to all who consume them.  The only difference is that the raisin has emptied itself of ingredients not necessary - it has stripped itself down to the bare bones and opened itself up to the possibility of what it could be by emptying itself.

This Lent we are called to give up - to empty our lives of that which is not needed - in order that we may experience the fullness of life.  This Lent be a raisin.

Deacon Dale