Meats of every kind: that’s what I had on the grill surface last evening. Chicken, sausage, hamburgers, steak. It was like a picture from an ad for a backyard patio furniture sale. The only thing missing was a skewer of multicolored vegetables and me wearing one of those chef hats. I have an apron, but I think it belongs to Emily, so I don’t wear it. It has some Christmas gooses on it, which isn’t really her style, anyway.
As I grilled the chicken I started thinking about the Old Testament (just like everyone else, I bet). Chicken is very difficult to cook on a grill because there’s a small window between dangerously undercooked and shamefully overcooked. Chicken usually goes from pink goo to vulcanized rubber within an 8 second period. What’s worse? Salmonella or chewy? I think we all know the answer. Thankfully, Barbecue sauce covers a multitude of grilling errors, especially chewy chicken.
Anyway, it got me thinking about some of the Old Testament regulations for worship. When Yahweh had them bring animals for sacrifice, He was very specific about what to do and how to do it. Leviticus is the cookbook we hardly ever talk about. I think God’s grace is evident in many places, including the fact that He makes sure that, if any meat is to be consumed by the priest, that it’s clean and fully cooked. One thing about those fires — they burn away the salmonella.
Of course we’re talking about two completely different “meals”. One leads to satisfaction of the stomach and the other leads to satisfaction of our offenses toward God. Which one matters most? Obviously the condition of our soul is far more important than anything else, including our physical hunger. Grilling as I was, it was a (albeit strange) moment of worship. I prayed: God, thank you for food and for the fire that kills parasites, and for your creativity with our nutrition. And thank you for Jesus, who gave Himself so that I’m in my backyard enjoying the sun and not in a temple offering a sacrifice.