Beverages (especially hot ones) are for me, at least, an important part of everyday life. They are great if you just want to be hydrated and have a bit of nourishment, without necessarily going into having a snack or a meal as well. Vegan beverages for me taste even better than ones made with cows’ milk, and after Lent I’m still going to try to have soya milk in my tea/coffee/milkshake as much as possible, as I just prefer the taste, to be honest: for me, it’s so much richer and more interesting than just a plain beverage made with cows’ milk. They’re pretty easy to have too – just ask for your normal beverage at a cafe, but made with soya milk instead, and purchase soya milk (or other milk substitute) instead of cows’ milk when at home!
I seem to be going through a phase at the moment, out of pure choice, where the only things I drink are water, tea and coffee. I have, however, in the past had many fruit juices and smoothies, which are also vegan, of course (or at least should be)! So, here are some wonderfully aesthetically-pleasing photos of the three hot beverages which I have at the moment:
Now, for the sake of convenience, I must tell you that in my recent trip to Berlin (I’ll be doing a whole blog post on this the week after next) I was just vegetarian, but I can assure you that if it wasn’t for this trip, I would have stayed vegan for the entire duration of Lent. Just as a further justification for this, I have been vegan on Sundays during Lent too, which strictly isn’t necessary, as the 40 days during which Jesus was in the wilderness is represented by 40 days in Lent, excluding Sundays, so in a way, my trip to Berlin has been 3 of my “Sundays” of not doing “Lent fasting”. I also know several vegans, both irl and online who travel regularly and to avoid complications are just vegetarians when they do so.
Another tip: Pret-A-Manger, as I mentioned before in my previous blog post, is absolutely great for vegan food, so is equally great for vegan beverages! Aside from their tasty smoothies and fruit juices, all their hot beverages can be made with soya and coconut, as well as, cows’ milk. (again, I wish this was sponsored by them, but alas, it isn’t!) I recommend their coconut hot chocolate: c’est trés bon! 👌 (as the French would say!) 🇫🇷
The Bible Section: Food for Thought
The Bible Bit
This week I feel inspired to tell you about one of my favourite parables that Jesus told his believers (Parable: noun a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels). It’s called The Parable of the Lost Sheep and you may have heard of this before, perhaps at primary school, as it’s a popular story to tell young children, such as in assemblies and Religion classes (or whatever the term is right now: RE/RS?). It’s featured in two of the books in the Bible, Matthew and Luke, which are part of the Gospels (first-hand accounts of Jesus’ life), and to me emphasises that God really does care for us and our individual needs, whatever they may be, however not-obvious that may seem. This is why I thought I’d share this story with you, as it is relevant not just for young children, but for every single one of us, for we are all God’s children! So, here they are, as appearing in Matthew and Luke respectively:
Matthew 18:12-14 Good News Translation (GNT)
12 “What do you think a man does who has one hundred sheep and one of them gets lost? He will leave the other ninety-nine grazing on the hillside and go and look for the lost sheep. 13 When he finds it, I tell you, he feels far happier over this one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. 14 In just the same way your Father in heaven does not want any of these little ones to be lost.
Here’s a slightly longer, more detailed version, but of the same story…
Luke 15:1-7 Good News Translation (GNT)
15 One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus, 2 the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, “This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!” 3 So Jesus told them this parable:
4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them—what do you do? You leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it. 5 When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders 6 and carry it back home. Then you call your friends and neighbors together and say to them, ‘I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!’ 7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent.
I think that this short animation on YouTube sums up this parable nicely. Again, it is intended for young children, but to me it shows that God is the great shepherd, who, because he does care for every one of us so much, is prepared to go at great lengths to save us from any adversities: to save us ultimately from satan. Also, this little story shows very well the fact that although we have sinned, like the sheep, doing what we ought not to have done, by running away from God and trying to tackle life on our own, God still loves us, just as much, and unconditionally. God is prepared to do whatever it takes to get every one of us back: to save us, because he loves us for ourselves, and is overjoyed that we are part of his family after we have acknowledged and repented our sins (Luke version, verse 7). I’m sure that not many shepherds would go to that length just to save one individual sheep (i.e. us), and just like the shepherd in this parable, God is different.
I thought that this week I’d introduce you to another one of my favourite songs, which just so happens to fit well to these Bible passages on the Lost Sheep. The song is of a form of contemporary worship, and is called Guardian, written by Integrity Music (formerly Kingsway Worship). I first heard this song, I think, when I visited my awesome Christian summer camp in Ripon, North Yorkshire for the first time. For Christmas I was given a CD with this song on by my uncle and aunt, so from then on I was jamming to this song and others in my bedroom in open worship to God. It’s such a great thing to do, when you want to let it all out and praise God like no-one’s watching! 😜 Every single on of the beautiful lyrics are so beautiful, and the tune really complements them. It also sounds awesome live, which is why I’ve linked you to the live version! Enjoy listening, and I hope that you feel moved by this! 🎶☺️
Today is also Palm Sunday, where Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey the week before he was crucified, where he was humble (as always) and had the humility to see everyone in real life, greeting every individual whom he encountered. I’ll maybe talk about this passage more next year, but for now, if you’re interested, take a look at Matthew 21:1-11 here!
I’ve decided to do Friday’s post as another Lent post, as it will of course be Good Friday, an important day for all Christians, when Jesus was crucified. On the Sunday I’ll again do the last “Lent” post (even though we won’t be in Lent anymore by then), by discussing Easter Sunday and what it means to each and every one of us.
Until then, I hope you have a very blessed and reflective Holy Week!
Sarah 😘 xx