Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fill 'er up!!

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” John 6:27

I’m out of my routine today. For the past couple of months I’ve been cooking for our Wednesday meal at church. I usually cook on Tuesdays, and then on Wednesday, have to swing by the church to turn on the crock pots so that we’ll have hot food by 5:45pm. Since this is Holy Week, there are no Wednesday activities this week, which means no meal, which means I didn’t have to cook for 30 this week.

“Thank goodness!” you might be saying, but for me it is a loss. I’ll admit it - I enjoy cooking! I enjoy cooking for myself, my family and even other people. The more the merrier. Sometimes I get carried away and have to take some to the neighbors. I just learned how to successfully make bread around Christmastime that tastes just like my mom makes and I’ve passed up no opportunity to make a big batch of it. Loaves, rolls, cinnamon rolls, calzone, pizza crust. Practice makes perfect, you know!

I’ve also made some friends in the kitchen at church since I started cooking there. Flo and Lorna are each at least 40 years older than me, but they come together to help make the drinks and coffee about 4:30pm on Wednesday evenings before the meal. While I’m stirring and they’re mixing and brewing, we talk about the week’s happenings and they tell me about their lives. Flo is from New Jersey and had a husband who was tall, dark, and handsome. She used to ride horses and shoot guns with her brother. Lorna lives close to Flo and Flo picks her up on the way to church. Last Sunday they both grabbed me and hugged me, since they wouldn’t be seeing me on Wednesday. Lorna even kissed me.

The teenagers who come for Confirmation class always check with me on the way in to see what’s for dinner. I didn’t know many of them before I started my kitchen endeavors, but some will hang around a few minutes and chat every once in a while. I’ve even taken some suggestions on what to fix from a few of them. I’m beginning to think that not all teenagers are bad.

I also like sitting with my kids at tables that are far too low, in chairs that are far too small, with the other parents of little kids while the “grown-ups” sit at the big tables. There always seems to be a mad dash for the paper towels when somebody spills their Kool-Aid. Sometimes that somebody is me.

Then it is back to the kitchen where Flo and I clean up the mess. I get my weekly facial from the steam out of the commercial dishwasher while we dump, scrape, rinse and stack. Of course, more blabbing occurs amid the work. After we’ve finished, Flo gathers up the rags to take them home to wash, gives me a hug goodbye, and we promise to reconvene the next week with the same mission laid out.

For some, the thought of cooking for 30 people each week would be a nightmare. Just coming up with a menu each week would be more than they would want to tackle – let alone the shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning that goes along with it. For some it would be a drain. But for me – it is filling, both gastrointestinally and spiritually.

I hope you know what fills you up. I hope you take opportunities to fill yourself both physically and emotionally on some of God’s great gifts. And if the opportunity arises, I hope you’ll volunteer to fill someone else’s need. Even if it’s not in the kitchen.

Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’” John 21:17


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