We are starting our third week of fasting and I can feel it. I'm not as tired and hungry as you'd think. Actually I am sleeping better and have more mental energy. It's a great feeling! I am sure that in a few more weeks I'll be tormented by the late night restaurant commercials and coupons that are delivered to my front door, but for now I am thankful for the fast and that I am healthy enough to participate in this ancient offering. I'd like to reaffirm that this is an offering. Truth remains true today as it did before time... if you want to mature spiritually, you need to be obedient (referring to Adam and Eve and an apple.) In the centuries since, we practice obedience through fasting, prayer and giving. And since I trust the saints that lived before me I will follow their lead and be obedient to Christ.
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:20, 21)
We aren't born with "Faith as a mustard seed." Faith is cultivated, it matures and it is nourished. Faith isn't belief in your will, we all know what we want, and rarely get it just by desiring it hard enough. Faith is being aware of God's will and desiring to act upon it even when we don't understand it.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:8-10
Fasting, a "foreign country" for many of us who don't like being told what to do, when joined with prayer and giving, has its rewards. It places us in obedience to God's will and returns us to paradise.
Now, Back to our scheduled blog post...
On the roster of Lenten staples, you can't go wrong with Spinach and Rice. It's loaded with vegetables and you feel like you've actually eaten something. I prefer to serve it with something crunchy like a side of Tarama Salata (which is more of a spread than a salad) on toast. You could also add a few cut raw veggies.
- You will first need to wash and chop 1 pound of fresh spinach. Set aside.
- Saute 3 garlic cloves, a few chopped green onions a few stalks of celery heart including the leaves and 2 chopped onions in a large skillet.
- When the onions are soft and translucent, add a can of diced tomatoes, the chopped spinach, a fist full of chopped parsley, a tablespoon of dill and a tablespoon of chopped mint. I like to add tons of herbs to spinach to mellow its strong flavor.
- When the spinach is wilted, add a can of tomato sauce and 2 c water. If you didn't add a ton of herbs, vegetable broth is a good substitute.
- When the sauce begins to boil, add 1 1/2 c rice. I use Uncle Ben's. You can use any long grain rice.
- Simmer and cook rice for 20 minutes. Be sure to stir the sauce often so it doesn't overcook and stick to the bottom.
- Add Salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste and let it sit uncovered till it's time to serve.