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  • Erik Hatch

The Microwave

I’m fascinated by my microwave. I can put a remotely flat, dry package filled with kernels of corn into the microwave for roughly 4 minutes – and after just 240 seconds I have a delicious treat.

I can make a sandwich in the microwave that results in crispy bread by nuking it on a specialized, disposable plate thanks to the good people at Lean Cuisine. I can make a giant plate of nachos smothered in cheese and salsa in just 60 seconds – which is like kryptonite for me any time the clock strikes 11pm. Heck, I can even make bacon in 5 minutes – and I don’t have to deal with grease splattered all over my stove top.

According to Wikipedia: A microwave oven works by passing non-ionizing microwave radiation, usually at a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz (GHz)—a wavelength of 122 millimeters (4.80 in)—through the food.

To be honest – I have no clue what any of that means. All I know is that if my pizza is cold, I put it in the microwave and 90 seconds later I’m back to Delicious-Ville with a piping hot piece of pizza. And throughout my life I’ve known a world where microwaves exist – and life is easier.

But easier doesn’t mean better, does it? Do I really know the struggle my grandparents had to go through just to cook something? Each meal took serious preparation, TLC, and planning. Now, I can walk into my house and make a dinner for my family in under 5 minutes.

But is that a better meal? Is McDonalds better than an upscale restaurant? Is a trip to Taco Bell more fulfilling than a home-cooked meal (that doesn’t involve the microwave)? Is a tv dinner, prepared in a microwave, packed with more nutrients than something prepared and cooked by my wife? There’s something to be said about enjoying something more that takes sacrifice.

When I get into the kitchen to cook, I sure appreciate it more. When I understand the energy and sacrifice that is needed to provide a meal its value seems to amplify.

I think of Christians (both past and present) that are condemned, ridiculed, and tortured for their faith. And I think of those who have to battle the heaviness of life. The struggle they’ve gone through to embrace their Savior makes for a more satisfying meal when communion happens.

At First Lutheran Church (my home congregation since birth), the sanctuary offers two different ways to commune on a Sunday morning. One option is to kneel at the altar – and the other is to usher past the communion as it is handed to you. My family has always called this ‘drive through’ communion.

Now there is nothing wrong with the way that communion is served – but for me, it seems different when I kneel. My arthritis is raging nowadays and kneeling is insanely painful…but I pay attention to the meal a lot more when there is sacrifice involved.

And so I think of the pain we’ve gone through. What has ailed you over the last days and months? What hurt has been burdening you for what seems like an eternity? Are you struggling with some real life stuff as you read this?

So maybe life isn’t supposed to be easy for us all the time, just like we aren’t supposed to eat all our meals from a microwave. Maybe God wants us to sacrifice – and struggle. Maybe our sacrifices and commitments are desired by God. And maybe, just maybe, easier doesn’t mean better. Life will be a lot sweeter when you know firsthand just how bitter and sour things can be.

Erik Hatch

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