Friday, June 28, 2024

Beef and Noodles

A few years ago, I attended a family reunion. As my mom and I stood around in the kitchen talking about what food we should take, she laughed a little and said, "I thought about making up a big pot of beef and noodles." 

I laughed, too. 

Then, we showed up at the reunion and saw the spread all across the table. Deliciousness as far as the eye could see, and the host was firing up the grill. As we stood around talking to a couple of cousins, my mom made the comment that she thought about bringing beef and noodles. 

A cousin laughed and said she was going to do the same thing. Another one chimed in with a chuckle and said she was, too. 

A couple more cousins walked up and joined in the conversation, and when they found out what we were talking about, each one of them said they'd had the same thought - definitely beef and noodles. By this point, we were all laughing. 

See, my great-grandmother was known for her beef and noodles. Made from scratch. It's a dish that is a hallmark of our family, something everyone knows, and something everyone knows how to make. Just the way that grandma made it. 

Everyone knew, just knew in their hearts, that there would be beef and noodles at this reunion, and so everyone thought about it, then brought something else. 

I think about that, and I think about this Table with Jesus. 

We all know what's at this Table. Every single one of us. We know, when we come, that there will be bread, which is the body of Christ, and there will be juice, which is the blood of Christ. We stand in our kitchens and think about it. We kneel to pray and think about it. Whenever we think about this Table, we think about the bread and the juice. We can't help it. 

At the same time, we all bring something different, too. We all bring with us whatever it is that we have to bring, whatever we've got in this season. We bring our hurts and our hopes, our trials and our triumphs, our sickness and our health, our brokenness and our healings, our weariness and our zeal. We bring our everything. 

And when we look out over this table, there's quite the spread. There's something on this table for everyone, something that anyone can connect with, that anyone can nourish their souls with. There's something about the gathering of the whole family of Christ around this Table that just fills it to overflowing with a veritable smorgasbord of human experience. 

And it is good. Boy, is it good. 

But talk to any one of us, and we'll all tell you the same thing, even while we're poking potatoes and hot dogs and alligator cake into our mouths - 

Every single one of us is thinking about the bread and the juice. 

As we should. 

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