In the kitchen at parties…
Isn’t eating with friends and family the nicest thing? I don’t mean sitting in front of the TV and eating while doing so; I mean preparing a meal, and then sitting down around a table to share it. There are quite a few instances that are referred to in The Bible of Jesus sharing meals with his disciples, and I have to say that when he set this example, he was giving us something wonderful.
Kevin, Jamie and I are fortunate enough to be able to share most of our meals together, but this weekend we had Peter Nevland and his wife Vicki to stay. He is just about to go to share some of his thoughts on Psalms with the lovely people at Spring Harvest, and we provided a useful stopover for recovery from cross-Atlantic jet-lag. For lunch today we added two further friends, Diana and Chris.
So, church this morning, and from there the day has been focused around preparing, eating, and then clearing up after a Sunday meal. It occurs to me that this must seem like a dreadful waste of time to so many people – but let me say – if you either have never done this at all, or just haven’t done it for a while, then it’s time you did. It’s time well spent.
Peter teases me mercilessly, and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that I give every bit as good as I get. Vicky wants to help (not with the teasing but with the cooking), and then thanks you for letting her. She’ll learn. In my kitchen everyone helps, it’s the only way to prevent disasters.
I’m often prompted to think of Mary and Martha when Jesus came to eat at their house. Martha was upset because she felt she had been abandoned in the kitchen to do all the work and that Mary should be helping her. Thank goodness for the balancing of the sexes that has occurred since then. If Jesus came to my house, I have no doubt that I’d have him making the gravy – I don’t think there’d be any of that left at the end of the meal – wine in it and everything.
So, here we are – there’s the easy chat of people working side by side. Those that go off to pick vegetables from the garden, the peeling, chopping, roasting, boiling and steaming; the anticipation, the smells; the learning new ways of doing things that can only come from having new people in your kitchen; the laughter.
Then the meal – this is when I get all the credit for all the work that I’m sure was mostly done by other people. Time spent enjoying each other’s company, really listening to one another because each of us is worth listening to. Shared stories, related experiences, coming to understand new points of view. The youngest and the oldest all taking part in the melange of different personalities that go to make up our friends.
Even the washing up is fun; we organise a chain of washers up, dryers and ’put-awayers’. A noisy, mirthful, good natured team who tease one another, laugh at ourselves and each other, and we get the job done in a jiffy.
What did we eat? In a week’s time, I’ll barely be able to remember; but who did we eat it with?
That’s etched on my heart.