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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stamp Of Authenticity

Ham, Ham, Ham
When Bo and I were in Italy, we went to a place in Parma where they make...yes, ham.  Great care is taken to insure that the ham meets the requirements to be stamped as authentic, 100% best.  If it does not meet the all the standards, it can be sold as just regular ham.  Still ham just not the best, it could have been.  Things they consider is size, cut, aging process...all of these things go into the final product and whether they get the stamp or not.  

Bo making cheese in Cortona...our cooking class, great day

Italy has a tremendous challenge with theft of ham and cheese.  The owners of the processing plants have to live on site because this stuff is stolen and sold on the black market, devaluing their life's work.
It's like cattle and horses in the wild west.  Serious stuff.  The families have been producing the ham and cheese in this region for many generations.  

One thing I noticed in a lot of products is there has to be a time of maturing.  A time of letting the original product mature, becoming what the curator has in mind, the desired outcome...whether it is grapes (wine), curds (cheese) or a shoulder of a pig (ham).  It matters where the grapes are grown and where the cows and pigs are raised.  It matters what kind of food the animals are fed.  It matters when the milk is taken and when the pigs are slaughtered.  It matters what kind of weather the grapes are harvested (fun fact-they won't harvest grapes in the rain).  But each product MUST mature, months, years, decades (wine).  And this is just a product that someone is going to consume.  It's going to fill our belly's and give us strength...but that is just fleeting.  For tomorrow or later in the day, we will be hungry again, needing nourishment again.  

Bo in the Dome.

Just as the masters of their trade in wine, cheese and hams have their hand in every process of the product, from start to finish, our Master wants to have His hand in each step of our process of becoming who HE created us to be.  So we will receive the stamp of authenticity.  We will grow and mature in Him, taking on His characteristics, the flavors of Christ, His image, the aromas of the washing of the Blood...ahhh, to be like Jesus.  

It's not for just us though.  It is for the life of the world.  We are to teach it through the way we live. 
1 Timothy 4:12 NLT says, "Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, in your purity."  

Bishop said last night at our Ash Wednesday service..."Lent is a church calendar call to a people sealed by the Cross in our heads, in our hearts and in our hands."  "Let the Cross shape the patterns of our minds-forming our worldview."  

As we are being formed, maturing, we are influencing others too.  

14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received 
through the prophecy spoken over you 
when the elders of the church 
laid their hands on you. 
15 Give your complete attention to these matters. 
Throw yourself into your tasks 
so that everyone will see your progress.
16 Keep a close watch 
on how you live 
and on your teaching. 
Stay true to what is right 
for the sake of your own salvation 
and the salvation of those who hear you.
-1 Timothy 4:14-16 NLT


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