Cooking Up Something with Love

This past weekend, I helped facilitate a retreat for my spiritual direction group at Ev Free Fullerton’s The Journey. And while I went to facilitate, I was also a participant. In attempting to discern what I was to focus on on this retreat, I came back to one thing—food. It had been awhile since I was on a food-related retreat. So, I asked those I went up with if I could manage our food needs for the weekend and planned a great spread for the weekend. I talked with my chef friend regarding the menus, what he’s done on past food retreats of his own, and felt ready to go. Wednesday and Thursday last week had me around different stores, preparing for the upcoming weekend. Still, I didn’t know exactly the content of what my time would be. Food. That was it (not that I’m complaining, mind you). Well, Friday evening as I was preparing to go to bed, I felt a good nudge that God was telling me that He wanted the food I prepared—food of a variety of tastes, colors, fragrances, textures—to be a reminder of His love for me. All of the food I made, the lavish recipes I planned to make, the intricate qualities (and quantities) of the dishes of which we’d partake—all were to be a way of remembering God’s love.

The love of God is a hard thing to comprehend. It is typically “too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalm 139:6). Yet the evidence of it in the orange hues of butternut squash, the fragrant aroma of pungent minced garlic, or the sweetness of a sticky pecan cinnamon bun makes it a bit easier to grasp. God’s love was all the more evident as I cooked in a mountain setting amidst scrub jays, pine trees, and granite boulders. What I was reminded of this past weekend was that God’s love comes to us in all shapes and sizes. In this new week, God’s love is evident to you and I both in different down-the-mountain ways of a favorite or meaningful song on the radio, an unexpected call from a friend, or an unplanned moment of rest in the day. May each of us be on the lookout for these ways God whispers to us that we are, as Henri Nouwen said, “the beloved sons and daughters of God.” And may this spur us on to good works for Him.

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