A Sweet Boil – by Rev. Heather McCarrel

Photo by Nadine Primeau/Unsplash

It is maple syrup time!  Folks have been busy for weeks in preparation; wood has been stacked, trees tapped, buckets in place and now, as the days warm the sap has begun to flow.

This afternoon I had the joy of watching a group of children tap a tree, then go to another tree and empty the bucket before finally arriving to the fire and watch as the watery sap evaporated into thick rich maple syrup.

It seems to me the boiling stage is the most important part of the entire process.  And, depending on how quickly the sap is put to boil, the temperature of the boil, and how long the sap boils determines its quality.  Top quality syrup is classified as Grade A and is described as syrup with a light to medium amber shade and a delicate flavor while Grade B tends to be darker syrup with a stronger flavor.   Maple syrup is one of those rare things that sweetens and becomes beautiful after a boil.

As I watched the sap boil my thoughts turned to the long boil we all have been through these past 24 months.  It is exactly two years ago this week that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the pandemic and since then we all have learned how long a boil we each can withstand.

Not everyone is up for a boil.  Some folks turn grouchy when life becomes difficult creating turbulence for all who surround them.  Others pull themselves up by the boot straps, square their shoulders and soldier on and then there are those who simply lean out of the difficulty and wait for it to pass.

Peter, Jesus’ disciple, didn’t fare so well when he was put into a boil.  Merely days after promising he would never deny knowing Jesus, Peter, while warming himself around a fire, was asked if he was a follower of Jesus and he answered, “no”.  Fearful an honest answer may cause him harm Peter lied, not once, not twice but three times as the fire heated up.

Not everyone can handle the boil.

The good news is Peter had the opportunity to set things straight.  After the crucifixion, early one morning Peter was shocked to find Jesus on the beach cooking breakfast over a fire.  Peter takes this opportunity to admit his shame, ask for forgiveness and not only was he granted a new beginning he became the rock upon which the church is built.  It is never too late to start anew with the God of new beginnings.

So?  How about you?  How did you manage the boil of the past 24 months?  Are there any fences you need to mend?  It is never too late to set things right and turn the boil into something sweet and beautiful.