So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NRSV)
Where I live, you cannot buy fresh-squeezed orange juice anywhere. So I buy it 90 minutes away, in Iowa City, five small bottles at a time, and freeze them. Later in my kayak, I’ll treasure a tiny frozen bottle as it slowly thaws during the hours of the trip, so that at just the right moment, when my forearms are fatigued, I will sip it, half-melted, and God’s sweet sugar will rush through my body like a scurvy-suppressing superfood.
Could I simply squeeze the juice myself? Of course, but it’s not pretty. I angrily fling orange rinds around the kitchen to punish them for getting stuck in the cheap machine I purchased to replace the better juicer a friend bought me. I broke that good juicer due to not reading the instructions because I knew better. I have come to the conclusion that I am not a natural juicer.
Back when I lived in Chicagoland, I could buy fresh-squeezed orange juice at twelve stops along any ten minutes of highway. But there were times when the juice just sat in my fridge, sadly ignored. These days, I treat my orange juice like a fine wine produced 90 minutes away at a mystical college town food co-op where I imagine juice artisans meditating on each orange’s inner loving-kindness and sweetness.
Who am I kidding? Work is work. And I appreciate theirs. The juicers, the growers, the trees, the dirt, and most of all the Creator who came up with the crazy idea of an orange in the first place.
For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen.
Lillian Daniel is Senior Pastor at First Congregational Church in Dubuque, Iowa. She is the author of Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To and When “Spiritual but not Religious” is Not Enough.