Fudgsicles and Steel Wool

One night a couple of weeks ago, I made homemade fudgsicles for the very first time. I’ve been economizing wherever possible and this is one of my ways of trying to do that. Jennifer Neumann gave me the recipe about a year ago. While I was bringing the ingredients to a boil, I left the stove unattended for just about 1 minute, and sure enough, the pot boiled over. What a mess. It was very late, so I just did a very cursory wipe up and went to bed. And though it shames me to admit it, I did not get around to really cleaning it up until today.

My stove was grungy anyway, so I pulled out all the elements and took the burner pans off to wash them. Then I saw that I had even more of a mess under the burners and was also going to have some scrubbing to do after lifting up the stove top. So, I filled a bucket with soapy water and started one of the best arm workouts I’ve had in a while! I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed…..and scrubbed. First the burner pans. But, man oh man, the stuff was crusted on those things!! No amount of scrubbing was getting this stuff off.

Then I remembered that a friend of mine, Susanne Roman, had given me some cleaning supplies before returning to Salt Lake City after her stint here with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Sure enough, there was one bunch of steel wool in the lot. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever used steel wool. I’m afraid to use it because it looks like it could take the enamel or paint off of anything. But I started using it on these burner pans. Well, probably most of you know what happened, as you have not avoided steel wool as I have. I could not believe how easily that steel wool cleaned those burner pans or been as delinquent in cleaning as I have been. So, then lickety-split, I applied the steel wool under the stove top and cleaned that up in a flash as well. “Why have you not tried this before,” I wondered to myself? Soap and water were useful, but could only do so much. Some of the work could only be done by steel wool. I could have scrubbed all day with soap and water to no avail – only the steel wool got the job done.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been reading the Book of Mark with my church family. The book of Mark is written by a very pragmatic writer – he was kind of a “get to the point” kind of a guy. Anyway, by the time we get to Mark 2, Jesus has already stepped into the public eye and begun his ministry. He has begun forgiving, healing, preaching, driving out impure spirits, and calling disciples. As we delve into Mark 2, he is continuing to heal the sick and engage with the culture and call out disciples from that culture; but, now he is being watched very critically by teachers of the law – religious leaders of the day – and Pharisees. Pharisees were members of a particular Jewish sect that was known for its strict adherence to religious laws and practices.

The teachers of the law and Pharisees publicly refute Jesus’ divinity and the Pharisees pounce on every action Jesus takes or allows his disciples to take that is contrary to the laws handed down through Moses. What struck me on this reading was that Jesus was confronted regarding allowing his disciples to work on the Sabbath. By law, the Sabbath was a day of rest. In today’s world, if we were to examine the laws of the Sabbath back then, we would say that the Sabbath was a day of extreme rest with extreme consequences (i.e., death) for anyone not adhering to Sabbath laws.

Mark 2:23 tells us that Jesus’ disciples picked some grain on the Sabbath. And the Pharisees were quick to confront Jesus about it; they wanted to know why he allowed that. Jesus recounts a time when King David fed his hungry men bread that only the priests, by law, would be allowed to eat. And then he clarifies further:

“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.’” Mark 2:27-28, NIV

In a very simple reading of this, to me, it is saying that Jesus is telling them that the Sabbath and all of the laws surrounding the Sabbath were designed to benefit man. Setting aside a day for communing with God and resting from all other work, as well as a host of other things, benefits man. Man does not benefit the Sabbath. God did not make man for the Sabbath. And so, Jesus is Lord even of the Sabbath – he trumps any laws or rituals or restrictions of the Sabbath.

In a sense, the Sabbath and its rules are tools and principles that aid us in living Godly lives. Men are not supposed to be tools for the Sabbath – though these Pharisees were just that!!

To the extent we can adhere to God’s laws, we benefit. But we are human, and as history has shown us, there is not one of us that can completely adhere to God’s law – by nature, we sin. The law can only take us so far. You can try and try and try……and try. But only the steel wool – Jesus – can eradicate every stain in an instant, and make us brand new once again. All I have to do is give everything I know about me to everything I know about him – ask him to come into my heart.

Lord, thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus, who cleans my heart every time I expose it to him, just as the steel wool cleans the mess on the stove upon application. Thank you for good friends that share recipes, cleaning supplies and lives with me! Amen.

Homemade Fudgsicles

1-1/2 tsp Knox gelatin powder (1/2 of 7g pouch)
2 cups water

1 cup NesQuik powder

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups milk

Measure 1/4 cup water. Sprinkle gelatin powder over water, mix. Add 1/4 cup boiling water, stir until gelatin dissolves completely. Add remaining water (1-1/2 cups) to gelatin/water mixture. Stir together well. Set aside.

Combine NesQuik powder and sugar in a 4L saucepan. Stir in gelatin mixture and milk. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly. Stir, then pour into popsicle molds or ice cube trays. FREEZE.

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