St. Helen’s Daily Lenten Devotional
A masala dabba is a spice box that contains small tins of spices (often 7 in number) and is a kitchen essential associated with, but not limited to, Indian cuisine. Often containing individual spices used on a daily basis, the tins can also include spice blends (as in the photo of this masala dabba from Spice Hunters, by Ehné and Philippe de Vienne).
As a child I was familiar with spices such as cinnamon and ginger and with fresh herbs of all kinds which grew in the garden. Although I have extremely limited international travel experience, I am self-taught when it comes to preparing ‘home-style’ dishes from around the world. The internet explosion of food bloggers has been invaluable as the ‘helpful hints’, often traditionally shared by a grandmother persona, are provided in print and video. Cooking, or baking, for some of us, is an art and an appreciation of the global variety of tastes can make a meal much more than providing nutrients for physical health. It is also, no doubt, a privilege, as food scarcity is also a reality, not only in far flung lands but here in Canada.
It has been said that “Variety is the spice of life.” (A proverbial saying, with its origins in the poem The Task (1785), by the English poet and hymnodist William Cowper: ‘Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour.’) The opposite might well be admitting that one is ‘in a rut’. These statements can be as true of our spiritual selves as they are of other things. Sometimes moving out of our comfort zone can expose us to new perspectives.
St. Helen’s offers an online worship service every Sunday, but you can watch it anytime. Why not ‘visit’ another faith community as well? This isn’t for comparative purposes (and I don’t need e-mails saying that ‘we should do it as such-and-such as church does’!). You will be able to ‘taste’ a little of a different approach, another community culture, even if you keep to the Anglican Communion. The diocesan website, ottawa.anglican.ca, offers a list of virtual services (note some are zoomed and need an invitation). Every Sunday I try to ‘visit’ another parish, often within our Diocese, to join in prayer and be nurtured by the Word. Try it, sometime!