Day 127 | Friday, 24 July 2020
Day 127 | Friday, 24 July 2020 -
From the Church Mouse –
Jonah, our greyhound, was a gentle spirit. We never saw him growl at the two grey cats we had at the time, Matt and Mike. I’m sure they tried his patience, but he never challenged them for space. Jonah’s name, in Hebrew, meant gentle. That’s why we chose it to replace his racing name.
Jonah never demanded our attention. He just quietly lounged near us, his very presence ushering in a feeling of calm. He seemed to know that we would provide for his needs, and he didn’t need to fight for anything. He just allowed good to come to him.
Jonah lived in the mindset that there would always be enough. Peace followed Jonah wherever he went. During these times, we miss Jonah more than ever.
I want to have more of that peace-bearing gentle spirit. In my professional life where I worked, I often felt challenged with people who were jealous and angry, constantly pushing for a place at the top and the power it would bring them. I tried very hard not to harbor resentment because I knew that even if you don’t say anything, it can show on your face.
Since I confronted all the danger and uncertainty in our world right now and with no end in sight, I have begun the practice of just being quiet. I sit on our back porch and watch all the wildlife that have come to make the Woodlands their home. I walk around the outside of the house and down along the pond to delight in the color of all our new blooming plants and shrubs. I go over to the wooded area, sit in my swing, and think, like Jonah, that there will always be enough.
With all the dissension in the world, isn’t it better to take time before we speak, to take time and consider compassion before responding? When we allow gentleness to enter the room, peace falls on heated moments. Quiet and compassionate truth always leaves the most powerful impact.
“My dear brothers, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.: James 1:19 (NIV)
And now for food for the body: Roasted Chicken and Squash Panzanella – 30 minutes, serves 4
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a large roasting pan on the middle rack. In a large bowl, toss butternut squash with sage, 1 Tbsp oil, and ½ tsp each salt and pepper. Transfer to the hot pan and roast until squash is nearly tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Lay slices of bread on the top rack and roast until toasted.
2. Meanwhile, rub chicken with 1 tsp oil and season both sides with ½ tsp each salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add chicken, skin side down, and cook until golden brown and crisp, 7 to 9 minutes, Turn and cook 4 minutes, then remove from the pan. Drain excess fat, then add cider to the pan and cook, stirring, scraping up any brown bits. Remove from heat.
3. Flip butternut squash pieces, then nestle chicken skin side up, in the roasting pan (reserve all juices in the pan). Tear bread into 1-in pieces and toss with 1 tbsp oil, then scatter over chicken and squash. Roast until squash is tender and chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes more.
4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, and remaining Tbsp oil. Then add shallot and cranberries and toss to coat.
5. Transfer chicken to plates and butternut squash, croutons, and any juices to the bowl of dressing along with arugula, then toss to combine. Serve with chicken and reserved cider pan drippings.
Nutrition per serving – 623 Cal, 44 G pro, 51 G Carb, 30.5 G fat (7 G sat fat) 6 G fiber, 645 MG Sod.
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Rev. Douglas Knopp, Pastor Emeritus