Shhh! We’re about to point out the differences between sherbert, sherbet and sorbet. But first we need you to chill. (Sad attempt at humor, right?)
Sherbert is far easier to explain than to type. Our spellchecker continues to flag the word as a mistake. It’s not, though. Sherbert is to sherbet what catsup is to ketchup — simply an alternate spelling that’s used informally. The spelling of sherbert matches up with the way most people pronounce the word. You’ll never see the word at the grocery store. But you’ll hear it from shoppers looking for a frozen dessert called sherbet.
Sherbet is made of frozen fruit juices, sugar and a small quantity of milk or cream. The amount of dairy products in sherbet is what distinguishes the treat from other types of frozen desserts. Sherbets contain 1% to 2% milkfat. A similar product but with a milkfat content between 2% and 10% is termed a “frozen dairy dessert” — which seems mysteriously vague unless you know that the word ice cream is reserved for frozen treats with a milkfat content of 10% or higher. As Yoda might say, “Now revealed to you, the mysteries of the universe are. Herh herh herh.”
If you remove all the dairy from sherbet, you have yet another frozen dessert, which is called sorbet. Some people pronounce the word “sore bet” — which sounds like a tip on a horse race that failed to pay off — but hey, when in France, remember to say, sôrˈbā. (All of which rhymes, by the way!) And should you find yourself in one of those fine French restaurants, you will likely be served a sorbet between the courses of your meal. But it’s okay to eat “dessert” between the stuffed-mushroom appetizer and the escargot. In fact, the head chef will be glad you did, because it will allow you to better taste the next dish he’s painstakingly prepared.
A sorbet is a soft icy mixture made from pureed fruit or concentrated fruit juices. A mint or lemon sorbet is often used to “cleanse the palate” or wash the tastebuds, of any overpowering spices or flavors in foods. A sorbet gets rid of the taste of the last thing a person ate, enabling him or her to better enjoy the delicious, and occasionally subtle, spices and flavorings in the next food served. Sounds snooty? Yeah, but it works! And sometimes we need to get rid of the taste of one thing before we can fully appreciate the next thing.
Are you ready for the next thing? In life, we all — sooner or later — go through tough times. We encounter loss and failure, disappointment and heartache. Many of us have to endure the pettiness of narrow-minded people: jealousy, hatred, and prejudice regarding age, sex, ethnicity, economics, education and experience. These negative experiences can leave “a bad taste in our mouthes”! We might even start viewing life through our bitterness, and adopt a sour perspective of people, things, the Bible, and even God! So it’s important we cleanse our spiritual palates.
The Word of God is a “spiritual sorbet” for the bad taste that lingers after a bad experience. It can refresh our perspective of life. However, we actually need yet another spiritual sorbet to allow us to fully “taste” the sweetness of God’s Holy Word; to fully appreciate (and understand) it! Before we partake of our spiritual food we need to cleanse our perspective with prayer! Prayer helps us to receive and “digest” everything our Heavenly Father has seasoned His Word with. It opens up our understanding to the fullness of God’s plans and desires for our lives.
Here’s a prayer sorbet to prepare us for God’s spiritual food: pray, “Teach me, Lord, the meaning of Your statutes, and I will always keep them. Help me understand Your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart.” (Psalm 119:33-34 HCS)
When it comes to God’s daily bread, there’s logos or a general application and understanding. But there’s also rhema, in which a specific scripture really hits home. It leaps off the page, and you know it’s a special word God wants to speak to you at that particular moment; a word for a particular situation or problem you’re dealing with; a promise that will sustain you throughout the day, and carry you through the storm. Thank goodness, you could fully savor it, because you prayed away the bitterness, sour attitude and nasty taste from any bad experiences. And then, you prayed for understanding!
At least, we hope that’s what happened. Or did you allow some recent course in your life to flavor your understanding of a key verse? After all, God’s Bread of Life — without the spiritual sorbet of prayer — can taste like moldy cheese. So, before you crack open your Bible, first cleanse your “palate” with prayer. Ask the Lord to open up your understanding, to guide you, and to help you apply His Word.
Can you say “sorbet”? We thought you could!