The Lord’s Bounty and Canning

Is there anything more essentially Pioneer than canning? It says “I’m prepared for winter!” Although three jars of chutney and two of hot peppers won’t get us through until spring, it’s the thought.

I love canning. I keep an eye out for secondhand jars and other equipment. I have a really old enamelled canner and canning kettles. I love the way the food looks in the jars, just like rows of jewels, only a lot more useful. I like antique canning jars, even though I don’t can in them. (Glass is not stable forever.) I used to own a pressure canner, but sold it when we left our little farm. I don’t really need it right now, and I don’t really need to can at all, since we live in a city.

But I find it so satisfying to chop, measure, cook, and laden the jars with good, wholesome food. It’s a kind of active restfulness, meditative in its intensity. I can’t attend to canning and something else, which is all part of my deliberate move away from multi-tasking. I want to be intentional about everything.

If we give our hearts and minds and souls and bodies to God, then intentionality is just part of our living in the Spirit. Our thoughts and work become prayer, and if we can’t offer thoughts and work to God, then we should not be engaging in those thoughts and work. What of us can we keep from God?

God has given us everything, and in abundance. All we have, all we are, and all we do belongs to God. When we are good stewards, we have enough sense to can some food rather than let it rot; or we give it to those who are without necessities, or we give it to someone who needs just a little joy and love even if they have enough food for the day. Sometimes joy and love are more necessary than food.

It hurts me profoundly to know that many go hungry in the world (and in this bountiful, blessed country) to the point of disease and starvation, when we are capable of feeding them. Don’t give me logistic arguments. If the military can move transports full of people, equipment and – YES – food to places where there is war, then we can certainly move food, equipment and medical supplies to places where people are starving, and we can make sure they get what they need. If we can devote millions to war, we can devote millions to peace.


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