Making stock is perhaps (next to peeling potatoes) one of the most boring things to do in the kitchen. You spend hours cutting and cooking spare bones and vegetables, and for what? Something most people never ask about or care about! But despite the fact that making stock is rather uninspiring and tedious, each Fall I end up spending several days in the kitchen boiling bones and freezing broth for use throughout the rest of the year. Of course I realize that you can purchase canned stock in the grocery store, but it never even approaches the flavor that homemade stock has (it’s way too bland), not to mention that it is filled mostly with salt and preservatives. You have to use good stock when you are cooking, because stock forms the foundation of whatever dish you are trying to make, and in that sense it works just like the foundation of a building: you don’t usually stand around and admire it, but it is what holds the entire building together. Even the grandest cathedral will fall over if its foundation is not deep enough and even the most elaborate and expensive meal can be ruined by using bad cooking stock. There are some places in life where you just cannot cut corners and foundations are one of them.
People often think of Anglo-Catholics as people that are primarily concerned with the “frills” of religion: the gothic buildings, stained glass, incense, candles, statuary, music, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. The primary concern of Anglo-Catholics, from the time of the reformation through today has always been the foundation of their religion. We want a church whose foundation runs deeper than the past thirty years. We want a church that rests upon the foundation that Christ himself created when he called his disciples to follow him. We want a church that honors the contributions to our faith made by saints over the centuries. It’s not about the “smells and bells.” It’s about remaining connected to our history, connected to Christians throughout time, and connected to Christ.
Our traditions, our history, our beliefs, our scriptures, these things form the stock of our faith. They are the broth that pulls everything together and give our worship depth and character. As Anglo-Catholics we hold onto our past, not because we are afraid of the future, but because we know that a building is only as strong as its foundation, just like a soup is only as good as its stock.
I am reminded of the words of a great old hymn:
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He hath said, You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health; In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth; At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea, As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed, For I am thy God and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go, The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow; For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply; The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Even down to old age all My people shall prove My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love; And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn, Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to its foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
May we always remain connected to that foundation and may no one ever accuse us of being bland!