On meeting God at The Table

 

Where do you go to meet with God. Thoughts from the Table. Liturgy of Life Reading group, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

 

On slow mornings I sip my tea, sit at the breakfast table and listen to the dreams of a four year old. As we finish our toast  I pull out a book of Bible stories, we read and then say our morning prayers.  Today we came to a story about Moses going up Mt. Sinai to meet with God.

God’s presence descends on the mountain, consumed with smoke and crashing thunder. The people are trembling with fear.  Moses and 70 elders ascend to worship and offer a sacrifice.  Then something even more amazing happens.  They see God,

“and they saw the God of Israel.  There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.”

And then these guys, surrounded by all this greatness, seeing God with their own eyes, the earth around them quaking, they sit down and share a meal.

 

“. . . they beheld God, and ate and drank.” (Exodus 24)

 

Not far back we were reading about Abraham and three visitors who come as angels representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   Abraham recognizes them as the Lord and before they say a word he has his wife baking bread and his servant slaughtering a calf.  They sit down and eat.

 

Is it possible that something as ordinary as eating could be crucial to our spirituality?

 

Food is central to so many stories of the Bible. Sin comes into the world when Eve eats the apple, God’s first gift after the fall is the flesh of animals for food, worship for centuries is primarily through the slaughtering and offering of animals which are then eaten, dietary restrictions are a central part of the practice of Judaism, God declares His grace for His people through the Passover feast, He demonstrates his faithfulness by feeding them with manna, Christ’s first miracle is turning water into wine, and His final time with the disciples before his crucifixion is a feast called The Last Supper.  In His death and resurrection we see the redemption of eating as we partake of His body and blood in the Eucharistic feast.

 

Yet food in our culture has been reduced to fuel, something to quiet our grumbling bellies and get us through our next task.  Its’ preferred form is a to-go box or better yet liquefied into a smoothie or squeeze pouch.  We understand it by its’ most basic nutritional elements, carbs, protein and fat, devoid of any value in its wholeness.  The traditions around preparation and consumption of food have nearly vanished from our society.

 

I don’t have any genius revelations here, only the observation, that if our Christian traditions or history mean anything to us then we may want to revisit food and I don’t just mean taking another glance at the doughnut table during coffee hour.  As Christians we believe that all of the world exists as a communication of God and that in offering what we receive back to God we are drawn deeper into Him.

In the preparation and consumption of our meals we partake of God and His gifts to us.  Of course this is still true if we are microwaving a frozen pizza.  It’s not that any one food or style of eating is necessarily holier than the other. But our pace of life and even our willingness to eat food in isolation or that isn’t carefully prepared, nutritious or even tasty, is affecting our physical health and is perhaps limiting our experience of God’s grace.

What does it look like to submit our food choices and our eating habits to God’s authority? How would we cook or eat differently if Christ was physically dining with us? (Because of course He is. He dwells in you and in me).

In a world that is overheating, with red faced politicians spewing hateful messages, with bombed cities and homeless refugees, with our own mind boggling schedules it may feel insignificant to spend an hour drinking a cup of tea or preparing a loaf of bread. But in the swirling haze, in the trembling and quaking, in our deepest fears, sitting down at the table and eating together may be the very place to begin to meet with our God.

 

 

This post was inspired by my current read, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.by Barbara Kingsolver as part of the Liturgy of Life Reading Group series. We would love for you to join us.

 

For more from Liturgy of Life you can subscribe here for monthly emails, like me on facebook, or join our facebook discussion group. Thanks for reading friends I look forward to connecting with you.

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7 recipes, a Week in Review at Liturgy of Life

I felt a little under the weather for a day or so this week. I’m recovered now but enjoyed spending a full 15 hours in bed (can you imagine!) and some chicken soup.  Here is my week in review in the form of recipes.

 

1.  Chicken Stock

I have been meaning to make my own chicken stock for a couple years now. I’m not sure why I finally got motivated but I finally did it.  This is Ina Garten’s recipe.  I didn’t exactly follow it (really I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly). Here are a few pointers, if you are using a whole chicken make sure you rinse it and take out the liver before you put it in the pot.  I don’t measure the water but rather just fill up the biggest pot I have and then add whatever I have, at least an onion and a couple carrots, some celery and some herbs, the details are mostly optional here and you can always add seasoning later when you go to cook with it.  I used some of my stock right away for soup but then will can the rest tomorrow.

 

2. Egg Noodles

I started into making chicken noodle soup and realized I didn’t have any noodles.  Did you even know you can whip up your own egg noodles in 20 minutes? Most of the recipes I saw called for letting them dry for a while but I just cut mine and put them into the pot, nothing like it. I didn’t follow this recipe exactly either, instead I mixed one egg, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 cup of flour, and then a few tablespoons of milk until the dough started sticking together. I kneaded it until it was elastic, rolled it out and then rolled it up like a jelly roll to make slicing easier and dropped them right into the boiling pot of soup as I cut them.

7 recipes, a week in review, liturgy of life. liturgyoflife.com chicken noodle soup, homemade egg noodles

 

7 recipes, a week in review, liturgy of life. liturgyoflife.com homemade chicken noodle soup with homemade egg noodles

 

3.  Chicken Casserole

After my stock had been boiling for a couple hours I pulled out the chicken and removed most of the meat and then stuck the bones back in the pot to boil for a while longer.  I used some of the meat in my soup but with the extra a thew together a chicken and rice casserole to freeze (actually I had made rice before I realized I could make my own noodles and was about to add it to the soup, then changed my mind and decided to mix up the noodles instead).  This is the absolute easiest casserole. Someday I’ll get around to making my own cream of chicken soup (all it is is chicken stock thickened with flour and milk).  This casserole is basically just chicken, rice and cream of chicken soup, though you could add veggies or mushrooms and some other seasoning.  Nothing fancy but it works great in a pinch (the recipe I linked to calls for raw rice, if you are using cooked like I did then omit the milk).

 

4.  Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This is another great use for shredded chicken that I used earlier this week.   Last time I did this sort of recipe review I mentioned that I had been experimenting with an Asian style soup. We had company this weekend and I wanted to try it out on them and was trying to think of what would go with it. I had these wraps recently when I went to PF Changs for the first time and figured they would be easy enough.  I had to buy hoisin sauce and water chestnuts and I used peanut oil instead of sesame oil but otherwise the ingredient list is pretty simple.  I think this is likely to become a new family staple.

 

7 recipes, a week in review, liturgy of life. liturgyoflife.com chicken lettuce wraps

 

5.  Water Keifer

It has been a while but I’m going to get a friend set up brewing water keifer this weekend and need to start doing it myself again too. If you haven’t heard of it keifer is a living colony of yeast and bacteria. The brewing process is similar to beer making but quite a bit simpler.  The keifer eats sugar which gives the water a fizzy tang (along with a teeny, tiny amount of alcohol).  This is an easy way to make probiotics at home and as long as you take care of your keifer granules you can keep them forever. You can buy them here but ask around first, they multiply fast so if anyone around you is making it they likely have extra to share.

 

7 recipes, a week in review, liturgy of life. liturgyoflife.com water keifer

 

6.  Feta Cheese

We are also going to make a batch of Feta cheese.  This is actually easier to do than yogurt.  There are a couple different approaches but I went with purchasing a starter culture.  If you are using raw milk the only other ingredient you need is rennet. If your milk is pasteurized you also need calcium chloride (beware ultra pasteurized milk won’t work for cheese making) but both are easy to order, inexpensive and keep in the fridge forever.

 

feta 7 recipes, a week in review, liturgy of life. liturgyoflife.com

 

7. Carmel Popcorn

I’m making this over the weekend. It has been a while but last I remember I burned the caramel sauce on the first try but the second batch came out great.  This contains corn syrup, not may favorite ingredient, I’m sure you could find a recipe without it though I don’t know that I’m motivated to do it this go round.  Hope y’all have a happy Halloween and a joyful All Saints Day.

 

7 recipes, a week in review, liturgy of life. liturgyoflife.com

 

Check out some more quick takes from other bloggers at thisaintlyceem.com

 

Thanks for reading friends and have a great weekend.

Erica

 

To learn more about Liturgy of Life click here, or join us in our reading group, where we are currently reading, The Art of The Commonplace by Wendell Berry. Feel free to comment here or join in the discussion on facebook.

 

 

A Recap of the Laity Lodge
Food Retreat

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life

Last weekend Michael and I had the the special treat to attend The Food Retreat  at Laity Lodge.  Laity Lodge is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, only about an hour from my house, and it is home to one of the country’s best youth camps and adult retreat centers as well as a bunch of other resources. They have a gift for hospitality and consistently bring together some of the greatest minds in faith, academia, art and music. Check out their blog here.

 

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life

 

So you may be wondering what the heck is a food retreat?

It is a reasonable question.

Our speaker was Andy Crouch who spoke to us every morning about the intersections of food and culture and faith.

We began in the Garden of Eden when at creation God gives the whole earth to man as food. We learned about food as a gift that we are dependent on. And talked about the role that food plays in keeping us connected to our world and community.

In addition to some great talks we had plenty of time for this,

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
An unheard of amount of time for quiet reading and reflection. Did I mention that this was our first trip away from our daughter? it was challenging yes, but pretty darn restful.

 

And plenty of this,

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
Enjoying a peaceful view of the canyon.
laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
And the view Cliff Swallows that are nesting right below the porch giving a great show for everyone.
laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
Learning about this beautiful landscape from Master Naturalist Nancye Drukker
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Hiking through the famous Box Canyon, known for its excellent acoustics and biodiversity

Most of you already saw my post about getting to do Suminagashi with Debbie Taylor.

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life

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We got to hear from some great minds in the food industry.

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
From Left to Right: 1. Evie Coats from 12 at the Table, Nashville TN.  2. Andrew Wisehart, chef and restaurant owner at Contigo and Gardner, Austin ,Texas.  3. Sean Henry owner of Houndstooth Coffee, Dallas, TX. 4. Ben Edgerton restaurant owner at Contigo and Gardner in Austin, TX.

And then all of those great minds cooked for us.

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
Andrew and Tim Blanks, Laity’s chef and director of operations cooking up an amazing meal.

 

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
Did I mention they cooked an entire gourmet meal for 60 people on this fireplace?

 

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The night ended like this, three guitars, five song writers (my husband included) and a trumpet. Singing and making s’mores, doesn’t get much better than this especially when you realize you don’t have an alarm clock or a preschooler waking you up in the morning.
laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
The last night ended with a  concert from Kelley Mcrae and Matt Castelein, seriously y’all check them out, not only are they fabulous but they are our new friends, we can’t get enough of these two.

 

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
Loved the chance to hang out with my husband! (have I mentioned we have only had two dates since our daughter was born 3 years ago?) and some great friends. For those of you doing the Liturgy of Life Reading group you have  Martina (she is the one in the center, I know you probably figured that out, but just in case) to thank for suggesting The Cloister Walk to our group.

 

laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
And while we were gone Zenie had lots of this.
laity lodge food retreat, liturgy of life
And by the time we left the Yiayia’s felt like this.