Recipe 26: Cold Noodles in Spicy Sesame Sauce
During Lent we have become aware of the curtain drawn across the altar of life. That curtain is the obstacle that prevents us from seeing the wonders and the beauty of God – the obstacles that prevent us from maximizing our potential. That curtain has been lowered because of our fears, and the only way for us to bring it up, the only way for us to open that curtain is to combat our fears with courage.
Because God resides within us we know that the potential for courage is within us. Courage comes from within where God has placed it.
At the Last Supper, Jesus asked his disciples to look within. In the Gospel of John, we read Jesus’ final discourse (Chapter 16 and on). Jesus asks his disciples to act with love and with humility even in the face of the unthinkable, at the most horrid of endings. At the Last Supper he discloses to his disciples that he will suffer an unthinkable death. He will be humiliated before humanity. The same creature that received its life from Christ, will now kill the Christ. The same life that was formed from those hands, will now take those very hands and drive nails through them! And yet, Jesus says, have courage. In no uncertain terms he demands it of each of us who sit across from Him at the table. His words, “Courage! The victory is mine. I have overcome the world,” are words that should resound, should reverberate in the deepest pockets of our souls.
Our curtains need to be opened. The obstacles need to be removed. It’s all in our hands. We can do it if we have the courage. So let’s find that courage. It’s easy. Here is a small Lenten exercise for today. Imagine yourself sitting across from our Lord Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. As he spoke to his disciples 2,000 years ago, today he speaks to us, in the same language, knowing that ahead of Him lies the cross, and acknowledges the certainty of the resurrection. Now listen to his words carefully. “Courage! The victory is mine. I have overcome the world!”
It does not matter what difficulties we have ahead of us. It does not matter what kinds of obstacles there are. There may be crosses that are huge and torturous. There may be crosses that we find difficult to raise. There may be crosses that are merely stumbling blocks. It does not matter. With courage, we can carry those crosses. And we can find the resurrections. As we find, they are sitting on the other side of our curtains.
Open the curtains! Remove the obstacles! Put fear aside. Have courage – a courage that comes from within and without. Understand yourself as a creation of God, standing with Him during his trials and tribulations on the cross because, as you know, He is standing with you at your trials and your tribulations, guaranteeing you a resurrection.
Let us pray now the prayer of St. Nerses Shnorhali:
You who bring back the wanderers, turn me from my evil ways into good ones and imprint upon my soul the recollection of the dreadful day of death, the fear of hell, and the love of your kingdom that I may repent or my sins and do righteousness. Have mercy upon all your creatures and upon me, a great sinner. Amen. (I Confess with Faith, 17/24)