Hold the onions bring on the pomegranates

I arrived in Ireland last Friday and took myself for a walk and headed for lunch full of anticipation that a long season of winter was about to break I felt alive and present to the day. I was in Ireland for a course where as participants we were able to engage in some very deep spiritual and physical work that had the potential to bring a lot of freedom from past life experiences, and the way we have often survived life from an energy of fear.

On my walk I listened to a podcast that a friend, Steve Wiens, at This Good Word had just released. The podcast is called Preemptive Love and the interview was with Jeremy Courtney who lives with his family in Iraq. Aside from the beauty of listening to two men have a brave conversation I was struck even more by my presence to the conversation. That listening to a podcast while walking along a stream to have some lunch in Ireland and listening to people in two other different continents have a conversation was awe inspiring, and well, it was bigger than the technology that made it all happen.

Lunch was lovely, I asked them to hold the onions on my tuna melt and they brought an unexpected salad covered in pomegranates. Now, for anyone who knows the biblical story of the promised land, pomegranates are sign that things are fertile and ready for new life. I knows its surreal and so “me” to think this way, but the fact that they turned up on my plate had me connecting the memory of the deep past to the realities of the very present. There is a large conversation in the biblical text about remembering the onions and fish and leaks of Egypt and then at some point the children of Israel (the next generation actually) start to desire and cry out for the grapes and pomegranates of the promised land. It’s really rather interesting and it takes a number of years.

In Numbers 11 v 4 -6 the Israelites craved the onions and the leeks and the fish of slave life back in Egypt. They complained despite the miraculous provision of food from heaven that landed on the ground every morning! In doing some more research archaeologists have discovered many things about the onion and it was considered to be almost an object of worship. They associated the onion to their understandings of eternal life and how its layers of circles within circles pictured this. The other interesting thing about the onion is that it was one of the biggest food sources across the whole of Egypt. The slaves ate them every day and many thought they had special power exuding from its odour. Onions were even buried with their pharaohs.

Side note: I have always been bothered by the analogical use of the onion in trying to convey the story of layers in our stories and emotions. “Peeling back the layers like an onion” never seemed fitting. Albeit its a starting point I somehow think its history, in biblical text at least, can tell us something that shows us the onion is more about a peeling back to nothing but eye watering emptiness verses the potential a pomegranate or grape has to show us with seeds as their essence and at their core. And well, an abundance of seeds at that. For where there are seeds there is future life!

Anyway, by this stage the people were crying out for the past in such a desperate way that it was consuming their thoughts. Their grumbling was a pressure and their memories too close. As I was served the pomegranates, and this will sound strange, but the title I used for this blog came running through my head. YES, YES, hold the onions, it’s time for the pomegranates. Its time for the future to come forth and to be able to taste its sweetness. I feel rich with fertility (maybe TMI) in more ways than one (maybe TMI) but the the essence of the season is real.

Here’s the conclusion out of the story. I am a woman of the next generation who desires to bring forth and draw forth life. I want to see dry bones live again and people be connected to there creativity and passions. I want faith to rise up and people to be courageous in their calling from the starting point of utter vulnerability. The conversation between Steve and Jeremy taught me just that. I could hear them ahead of me speaking about the promised land cause they were in it. It wasn’t easy, it was real. It wasn’t empty, it was full. It was calling in motion and motion in calling. It was life in the land of fruitfulness despite the enemies they experienced, and at the end of the day it was about a preemptive love indeed!! Now, go buy yourself a pomegranate people!


Sally Cranham