When I read the Bible, I often fail to grasp the graveness of the situations. Today wasn't one of those days - thanks to a Sunday School teacher who speaks my language.
A woman, caught mid-act cheating on her husband, is drug out to the streets by a hoard of men. She's most likely naked.
It's assumed this affair wasn't taking place in public, which means these people had known and were hunting to find her. Looking to catch her failing.
(Moment of clarity - Who hasn't hunted to find someone else sinning? I have.)
So when they do, they are probably on a mental high, like a hunter who caught his prey. They are celebrating. There is probably great joy in seeing her naked, ashamed, deathly scared.
(Moment of clarity - Who hasn't celebrated witnessing someone else's fall? I have.)
She's so scared, because at the time, the law called for her to be stoned to death. Which is fully what these people intended to do to her.
But these men also have another plan. They want to test Jesus on the law. So they bring her to him.
And many of us know what happens next.
Jesus says, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7-8 NIV
(Moment of clarity - We all suck. We all sin daily, and we probably should be consumed with fixing ourselves, instead of dragging someone else naked into the streets.)
One by one, they all leave, and Jesus is left alone with the woman. No one has condemned her, because none were free from sin.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11 NIV
During our Sunday School discussion, a man in my class asks an intriguing question.
"Why is he writing in the dirt?"
You see, twice in this passage of scripture it tells of Jesus, bent down, writing with his finger in the dirt.
And that picture, that moment, makes my heart swell with love for this man. For Jesus.
Here is a group of men, probably laughing and celebratory at this naked woman's situation.
She's failed. She's sinned terribly and been caught. She's being forced to face that sin, naked and afraid.
And then, there's Jesus. He will not participate in their public spectacle. He's so unconcerned with their carrying on, that he doesn't even look up from what he was focusing on in the dirt.
Most are probably gawking at this naked woman. Jesus, possibly out of respect and an attempt to comfort her, doesn't even look.
Anyone who has had an embarrassing moment can understand what these small gestures would have felt like.
Jesus shows respect and love to a naked, cheating woman. At her worst moment. At a moment when the world wants to stone her to death.
That's what he wants to do for all of us. You. And me.
He wants to show us his unwavering love while we are standing in the street, alone and naked.
I won't ever be drug out in the street naked for cheating on my husband, that's not one of my struggles. But there are things every single day that I should be drug out for.
And when I am, the one guy I want there with me is Him.
What you see above is crazy exciting for our family!
These two pictures are from two fields, only separated by an old fence row. The photos were taken about 4 foot apart.
The farm in the bottom photo has been traditionally managed for north Missouri row crop farms. You see larger and more compacted soil clods, fairly typical of dirt in the area.
On the farm in the top photo we have been using no-till and cover crop practices for three growing seasons. What you see, and would feel if you were here, is a light and loose soil. It's full of organic matter without any compaction. (Think of potting soil compared to dirt from your backyard.)
We have actually added soil to this farm by allowing crop residue and cover crops to decompose and turn to dirt. In only three years, we have changed the soil makeup of our farm.
What cover crops and non-till translates into on our farm is...
🌱 Less soil loss from erosion
🌽 Higher nutrient content for our crops
🌱Increased ability of the soil to hold water
🌽Decreased runoff of water and chemicals we use for our crops
🌱Reduced need for added fertilizers
All of these things mean we are protecting our farms, protecting our environment, and creating better long-term profitability (which is important because even though it's our way of life, this is also his full time job.)
This past weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer at the first Farmer's Table Wine Trail in Hermann, MO. Hermann is a small town, rich in German heritage, that is known nation wide for its wine making. This was actually my first trip to the Missouri treasurer, but I'll definitely be back!
The event itself was a total blast! It was sponsored by Missouri CommonGround and partners. CommonGround is a volunteer group of farm women who work to have meaningful conversations with non-farm women about farming and food.
In Hermann we had over 750 people hit our Wine Trail that consisted of seven stops, each featuring a custom wine and food pairing. The foods highlighted Missouri agriculture.
I had the pleasure of working the "Corn" stop - Dierberg Star Winery with Meagan Kaiser, another Missouri farmer and CommonGround volunteer.
Everyone said the food was amazing at all stops, but the corn chowder served at ours was out of this world good! I had to make it for my family when I got home on Sunday and had to share the recipe here as well.
This is a light chowder, not a heavy base, making it ideal for anytime of year! It's ridiculously easy, and you'll never believe the flavor it packs with just a few simple ingredients.
As a corn farmer, I love that you'll be enjoying corn. But keep in mind only 1% of the corn grown in the US is sweet corn - the rest is field corn used for animal feed, ethanol, exports and over 5,000 products we all use daily!
Smokey Ham & Corn Chowder
4 ears of corn (kernels cut off and cobs reserved)
*Or 2 cans corn
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 pound piece of ham
*Or 1 pound diced ham
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups water or chicken broth
Salt and pepper
In a medium pot, heat oil. Add the onion and cook until tender, approximately 6 minutes.
Add 3 cups of water or chicken broth, or combination of both. Add ham rind and corn cobs, bring to a simmer. Cook for five minutes. Remove cobs and ham rind. (Note - I used can corn given its April and I don't have fresh sweet corn. I also used diced ham, without a bone. Because of that, I used 2 cups chicken broth plus 1 cup water drained from the canned corn for added flavor.)
Add cream and potatoes, bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add corn kernels and diced ham. Simmer until potatoes are tender, approximately 5-10 more minutes.
Season with salt salt and pepper to taste.
Suggested Wine Pairing - Dry White, Sauvignon Blanc
This morning was a good morning. To my knowledge during church, only one crayon went flying from one child to the other and I only raised my voice twice.
We haven't graduated to the point where someone might say, "You boys were so quiet I didn't even know you were there!" But we are making progress.
It hasn't been all that long ago that my husband and I had to pump each other up for Sunday morning church - like soldiers preparing for battle.
Week after week we would rush into church, always late, settling into our pew, hoping shirts were on right, we had remembered all of our shoes, and hair and faces were in order.
It would always start out OK. They usually made it through the children's sermon relatively unnoticed. The music over the next few minutes would usually drowned out all the ruckus coming from our offspring.
But then... the sermon would begin.
Our time had run out.
We braced. It was game time. Us versus them. Civility versus complete chaos.
We were up against twenty solid minutes of only one man's voice. It wasn't even close to enough to cover the screams, untimely laughs, occasional harsh words and tears that would be coming from our children.
On bad weeks we would drag them out of the sanctuary. On good weeks we might make it through the sermon but our neighbors probably wished we had drug them out.
For what seemed like ages this went on. Each week I left feeling defeated, often wondering if it was worth it. I wasn't hearing the message, they certainly weren't, and because of us half the church wasn't either.
At some point, it stated getting better. I've found more weeks than not that I am actually hearing the message. And recently, I noticed our oldest proudly and easily joining us all in the Lord's Prayer while he colored. He was actually taking something in.
With light at the end of this tunnel, I suddenly have time to be grateful. Not one time in the last years has any of our church family said anything hurtful about the boys' behavior.
No one told us to stop coming. No one told us we were bad parents.
One time, in response to the frustration showing through my face, my pastor told me that if he couldn't preach over the noise of the children than he shouldn't be preaching at all.
On one particularly bad day, I remember a man kindly winking at me while I marched an unruly child to the back of the church. He was reaching out, saying "It's OK. This too shall pass." That meant so much to me. I never told him that.
I am so grateful for that kindness shown. I am so thankful our church gave us time to get where we are, without judgement. Even if it took our boys longer than most.
"But Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." Matthew 19:14
To any parent out there, dealing with those same Sunday struggles, I want you to know it is worth it. And remember, this too shall pass.
And to anyone else having their Sunday worship interrupted by a child behaving like a rabbid raccoon, know you're doing the right thing by biting your tongue. Or better yet, giving a kind smile or joyful wink.
That mother and father are working on it. But they need your kindness or they may lose the battle.
Even though we've gotten better, we still aren't perfect. I imagine for quite some time I'll continue praying with one eye opened and continue being grateful for the kindness and forgiveness of those around us.
1/2 Cup of white wine
1/2 Cup of red wine vinegar
1 Tbs garlic salt
2 Tsp sugar
1 Tsp black pepper
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
Stir together all ingredients except olive oil. Slowly add the olive oil, beating in with a whisk. Marinate for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
Leg Dry Rub:
1 tbs onion powder
2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves, crushed
2 teaspoons marjoram
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Dijon or yellow mustard
Mix all dry ingredients together. Put a light coating of mustard on leg, then sprinkle meat with dry rub.
Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees. Place lamb in smoker and maintain between 275-300 degrees. Cook lamb to 145 degrees for medium rare (lamb is best served medium rare).
We usually pull ours out at 140 degrees and it will raise to 145 by the time we serve.
Allow to rest 20 minutes prior to slicing.
This was our Easter Dinner this year, but this is also a favorite recipe for first time lamb trusts. We've convinced many people to try lamb with this smoked leg, almost all of whom have found they really love it!
And after Easter Dinner this year... we played in the snow. No joke. (I am so over this winter.)
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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