Romanian Grace

The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of Souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon. -- St. Cyril of Jerusalem

09 December, 2006

this little piggy

Killed a pig yesterday.

Perhaps I should explain. Apparently this is what all Romanians do as winter rolls around. They buy a pig and slaughter it. I will spare you the details, suffice to say that it was interesting and not quite as gruesome as I thought. As a matter of fact, after the first five minutes, the pig was surprisingly calm throughout the process.

I feel like I should somehow justify taking part in the process. I actually did very little. I watched the pros and took pictures, most of which will never make it to this site or to my prayer letters. But why, you may ask, would a recovering vegetarian want to witness the dispatching of a pig and the consequent piecing out of it into various usable forms? I guess I should say that it wasn't even my pig. My boss bought it at the behest of his neighbors and will use it for food for his family this winter. I will probably mooch a couple of sausages off him, though.

I can give two justifications for showing up at 8AM (we even adjusted the school day) for this event. First, I am less prone to the sin of believing that food comes from the supermarket. There I was, watching a living, breathing, squealing, screeching creature bleed and be silent. Four hours later, I was eating his meat. I was witnessing the process of the whole God-ordained order of man taking dominion over and sustaining himself with creation. Not to stretch it, but it is a picture that reminds us that our lives come at a price. And that price is not $3.98/lb.

Second, it gives me a vivid and radically accurate fresh outlook on the levitical sacrificial process. When I get to those parts in the Bible where the priests are commanded to sacrifice thousands of various kinds of animals (I know, I know...none of them pigs), and then I remember the lake of blood pooled around that carcass, then I think of that multiplied by thousands, and the sound it must have made all day long, maybe for days on end, and the smell, burning hair, burning serious as that was and is, it was always only intended to point towards an even more awful and harrowing sacrifice. Christ, Son of God, and God himself accomplished what man never could if he sacrificed all the lambs in the world. It is easy for me to read the Bible and for it to start seeming nice and tidy and neat. I forget that it is a blood-soaked book. There is nothing tidy about the death of God.

As we enter the Christmas season, join me in not forgetting that the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay was only about thirty years away from greusome death, horror itself, rejected by God as His lifeblood drained out, soaked the tree, the hill, and all whom the Father draws near.

Merry Christmas.


At 11/12/06 01:13, Blogger Dingle said...

wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing with us!


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