Our family butchered 11 chickens today….well actually my husband and I butchered 11 chickens. It was supposed to be a family event but my 8 year old son lost it emotionally right after we killed the first chicken. Once he realized one of the two roosters was next to be killed he asked us to save the roosters for last. Then started crying. It just so happened that he named the two roosters, Petey and John, breaking the very important rule of not naming animals that will eventually end up on our dinner table. Needless to say, he was useless the rest of the day.
My 13 year old daughter seemed super motivated initially, and after watching us eviscerate (aka – take the guts out) 3 or 4 chickens, she asked if she could give it a try. We let her and soon thereafter, she disappeared inside the house, never to be seen again.
There is something about seeing blood…..actually blood from an animal that was just alive 5 minutes prior….well…its……
like our lives.
The blood that spills from a newly killed animal is amazingly bright red.
It splattered everywhere. It touched everything. Even under the most controlled circumstances.
Seeing the blood drain slowly from the animal reminded me that blood is life.
I was reminded of the sacrificial system. I was reminded of the thousands upon thousands of animals that were sacrificed by the people of Israel to remind them of their sin and how God forgave His people by taking the life blood of an animal in the place of sinful people.
That life blood, shed…and sprinkled on the altar. Over and over and over again. Year after year. Decade after decade. Century after century.
Guilt offering -> Repeat.
Eventually, God would do away with the animal sacrifices. Was it because His people, after centuries of sacrificing animal after animal, began doing it routinely…..without true repentance. Out of tradition or expected norm.
Inward mundane with outward pageantry.
Maybe like routinely going to church because its Sunday.
Maybe like routinely praying, with routine words or phrases, with no real sincerity behind the words.
Maybe like routinely reading the Bible out of obligation because that’s what Christians ought to do, but not out of a sincere desperate desire to get to know WHO its about.
Maybe like routinely speaking Christian-ese around fellow Christians because its the expected language in our Christian circles and we want to others to think we are “good”.
-> I’ll pray for you (without actually praying)
->Give it to God. (a phrase used to comfort)
->Praise the Lord, (also known as PTL)
Once I received a text message that ended in PTL. I felt stupid asking what it meant but after several minutes of trying to decipher it, I just could not figure it out. I texted back asking what it meant. The person sending the text message seemed more shocked that I did not know. Was it unbelievable that I professed Christ as Lord, yet did not speak or text Christian-ese? The only answer I can come up with is I must have been absent the day they were handing out the textbook for Christian-ese- the language of true Christians. (sarcasm)
Over time the people of Israel forgot that God is Holy, Holy, Holy.
Just like the people here, in our country…or the people of Mexico….or Brazil…..or China…we all also tend to forget that God is Holy Holy Holy……
We forget that sin…the sin we commit daily, not just the blatant outward sin, but the hidden deep inner sin, the sin that no one can see, it also needs to be atoned.
Since all sin separates us from a Holy God..what is our only hope?
Ah! Our only hope in life or death, is that we are not our own but we belong to God. Just like the people of Israel. They belonged to God. Forgetfulness and all.
My mind was spinning, just like this feather plucker….with thoughts of thankfulness that the tiresome, bloody, gruesome, get under your fingernails kind of messy-work, like butchering chickens, can send me to my knees in thankfulness that God had a perfect plan for atoning sin..not just for the people of Israel…but for all people He calls His!
A plan that would not only atone for sin, but redeem.
Make them new creations.
Give them new life.
Not necessary to do ritualistically year after year, decade after decade…century after century.
It took just one man. One perfect time.
Christ and His blood.
These thoughts, this gratitude, kept me focused. They kept me from feeling tired even when feelings of exhaustion began setting in.
After butchering 9 chickens, my husband and I took a short break.
He leaned up against the table and we chatted a bit on how smooth things had been going so far. Not easy. Just smooth.
I looked down and saw his hand covered in blood. The wedding ring.
It’s not everyday that one sees their husband’s hand covered in the blood of an animal just killed.
Because I am a product of a sterile culture, my senses were initially shocked. Since my husband had done a really good job draining the birds of their blood, when the chickens eventually got to me, there was not much blood left to be seen.
Yet….my husband’s hand resting…shocked me.
After the initial shock of seeing more blood wore off…..
I saw another sweet reminder.
“Don’t move your hand”, I yelled.
I’m was quite sure my husband thought the butchering of chickens had finally sent his wife into delirium.
“Let me take a picture” as I scrambled around looking for my phone.
“What do you see?”, as he looked up and smiled reassuringly.
But I think he already knew I was going to say that.
(if you want to see more pictures of our chicken butchering, check out Mind and Heart Theology’s Facebook page. Just scroll down)