September 13, 2006

Cairns - Monday

Liz's camera finally came today. In a weird sort of way, it's a good thing it came today, just because it gave us something to do; we spent the morning figuring out the basics of how it works. It's a complicated little thing, but it takes really nice pictures. It has so many buttons and menus and odd abbreviations and acronyms that I think Liz will be kept busy for quite some time just learning the new language we've dubbed "Canon."

The highlight of the day was, as we didn't do much during the day, dinner. Tonight, to thank Shawna and Matt for their brilliant hospitality and wonderful friendship, we took them to the Hog's Breath Cafe, a restaurant in Cairns that serves steak.

This, however, is no ordinary steak. This steak is slow-cooked for at least eighteen hours before being briefly seared to perfection (and to order) on a grill. It is, in short, unbelievably tasty. The only steak I've ever had to match it was one of those $25 (insanely expensive) steaks that Liz and I bought at Wegmans to take with us camping. We froze it, then filled the bag with teriyaki sauce to slowly marinate for three days as it defrosted, to ultimately be grilled over open flames in the middle of nowhere in the Adirondacks. Hog's Breath steaks are that sort of good - the sort of steak we all wish we could cook.

It made me long for my own grill. Summer is starting to creep in here in Australia, slowly but surely. Already many new buds are out in Melbourne (though they never went away here in Cairns), and summer is, as we all know, the season of barbeques and campfires, of late nights talking over a drink with friends, and of swimming, kayaking, boating, fishing, and generally spending more time outside than in.

I think a grill is a perfect symbol for summer, and for my new take on how God asks us to live. A grill is servanthood: somebody has to prepare the food, to grill it to perfection, and to serve it to those that will eat it. A grill is friendship: many friends gathered around the grill talking and laughing and telling stories long into the evening, waiting for that last hot dog before we shut it off for the night. A grill is dirty; it's not perfect, it's got to be cleaned from time to time, and sometimes doesn't work quite right. But a grill is also memories, of campfires and parties and many good times.

I think church is all of that and more. We're to serve our neighbors and our communities and our planet, but we're also to befriend all of those around us, to live a life worthy of Christ's. We're also to celebrate life, to live it to its fullest, unhindered by the rules of man; we are free. We are to remember; I think if Jesus were to do the last supper again, he might do it around a grill - had Jesus come 2000 years later, communion might be, instead of wine and bread, a beer and a burger. Can you imagine? "Take this, the cheeseburger of life, and remember me. This beer is my blood, shed for you." The wesleyans and baptists would freak out about that one. I think the catholics might like it though.

Christianity is, first and foremost, a religion for the normal people. That we've turned it into a thing of splendor and pomp is a shame; Jesus pulled ordinary guys - guys that burp and goof off and don't put down the toilet seat - to help plant the seeds for his kingdom. The women that followed Jesus were not of the refined sort - prostitutes and whores and widows and the like followed him long before executives and housewives did. I think maybe it's time to stop taking ourselves so seriously.


Priscilla said...

Glad to hear you got the camera. I was talking to your mom at church about the camera some time ago. She said they mailed it to the wrong place!

Chris said...

Yeah, we were pretty worried that it wouldn't make it before we had to leave for home (melbourne) and that Shawna and Matt would have to mail it to us ... the camera that went everywhere without ever being used ... but it made it, so we had a day to toy with it and take pictures of Matt and Shawna's house (not a terribly glamerous place, mind you) ... mostly of shoes and fishing rods and the like ...

shawna said...

Hey, what do you mean its not glamerous!?

Chris said...

naturally you wouldn't notice the "thank you to Shawna and Matt for their brilliant hospitality" ;)