Note from Stuart Spencer: Pastors drag around after Holy Week and Easter. We’re as limp as a dishrag and as worn out as a middle-school teacher in June. When my dear friend Melissa Mantz shared this beautiful reflection with me this week, I asked her if I could use it for my Grace Notes. She was happy to help. With a tired yawn of appreciation, I offer you “Jesus in the Kitchen” by Melissa Mantz.
Over the last few months, many folks at TMPC have said to me; “You’re always in the kitchen!”. And that is true, I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen at TMPC recently: Community Meal, Coffee Hour, Soup and Bread Suppers, Maundy Thursday and Easter! Whew!
Here is a secret. I love the kitchen at TMPC. Because, so often, I meet Jesus in the Kitchen. There He is in the eyes of friends and strangers. There He is in conversations between friends and strangers. The thing about Jesus is that he loves to serve and where better to serve than in a kitchen?
Over the course of time I have been here at TMPC, I have met Jesus at a dirty sink of dishes, at the coffee machine, at the dishwasher and by the ovens. I have worked with Jesus long after everyone else has left the church or even, when I am alone preparing for a big event, like Easter Sunday.
I have learned so much from Jesus in the Kitchen:
· It always works out. This is the most important truth; no matter how flustered I am or how together I am, it always works out. People show up just when you need them. When you think there will not be enough food, food appears. “Loaves and fishes” as my friend Melissa Michael says.
· Making coffee is not hard. Period. Hosting a Coffee Hour is easy-peasy. And if you are shy, like me, it is a great way to meet people. Being part of the congregation requires action because love is a verb. Hosting a Coffee Hour is a good way to meet Jesus in the Kitchen.
· If someone asks, do you need help?, say YES! Maybe you don’t need help. But maybe the person asking needs to help. Folks love to feel included. Say yes!
· This Easter I had a profound conversation which began with me sharing about a powerful work of fiction I was reading. And then Jesus in the Kitchen showed up big time! My friend and I witnessed to the struggle and hope of a young friend. We prayed together with Jesus in the Kitchen. And then I made more coffee.
· Ask for help! Do you need help putting out the coffee or the food or the washing up? You are not alone; you do not have to do everything by yourself. Life is a “we” thing. ASK. FOR. HELP.
· One Easter a couple of years ago, I made an egg dish that I served VERY undercooked. I was so embarrassed- I am a former chef after all. I was all over myself…how could I??? As I was bemoaning my mistake, a very wise woman said; “oh, are you perfect then?” and she smiled gently. No, I am not perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Jesus in the Kitchen is okay with my imperfection and yours, too.
You can meet Jesus in the Kitchen. And you can meet Jesus in the Nursery, or Jesus in the Choir, Jesus in Session, or Jesus in the Sunday School Class. He is everywhere at TMPC and He loves to serve with his friends.