Sermons & News
But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. (1 Thessalonians 3: 6)
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November 17, 2023
Beloved in Christ,
Science has shown a direct link between smell and memory. I know that to be true from personal experience from walking into my grandparents’ house in Livingston, NJ on Thanksgiving for many, many years. The smell of roasting turkey still reminds me of home and family.
But there was something a bit extra special about my grandparents’ kitchen. It was small in comparison to today’s homes (maybe 100 sq. ft.). Three people in that kitchen was a crowd! Oddly, it was carpeted; and it had two doors that were usually kept closed, which made the room extremely cozy in the best ways. The overall effect of that kitchen is part of my cherished holiday memories.
Many of us will spend a large amount of time in our kitchens over the next week, perhaps a bit out of a sense of duty, but mostly out of love. Many of us express our love through caring for our loved ones by offering them food they enjoy. It is time to revisit old family recipes and favorites that, sometimes, only get made once a year. The abundance of food can be overwhelming!
I remember my grandmother had a cornucopia on the table made with real fruit. After a full dinner with too many side dishes to count, dessert with several kinds of pie and ice cream, plus nuts and after-dinner mints, she would always ask if we wanted a piece of fruit! It’s hard for me to pass up a pear, but after so much food, I think I took it home with me.
The only reference I have for so much abundance is God’s banquet table. Scripture tells us that we will neither hunger nor thirst anymore when we are in God’s realm. As a child, I think it always shocked me that after such a big meal the previous night, at some point the next day, I would get hungry again, which didn’t feel possible 12 hours earlier.
Part of our human condition is hunger, and it is not only for food. In the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12), Jesus reminds us, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." We seek to be in right relationship with God AND each other. I believe it is the basis for the work that we have to do to bring about God's kingdom here on earth.
We gather around the altar during worship to be fed with Christ’s body and blood. I like the metaphor of the altar being like a kitchen table where the family gathers for camaraderie and nourishment. And I find it comforting to think that those who we love and see no longer are gathered at their own table just beyond the veil. Together we feast, gathering strength and endurance, and thus fortified, we can continue to seek righteousness until all are filled.
We do remember all who struggle with the holidays for various reasons, especially those who are food insecure. Let’s help them make memories of delightful holiday smells.
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