Posted tagged ‘chowder’

Soup and Salvation

October 23, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    October 23, 2013



    On Wednesday nights at church we have soup and simple sandwiches…grilled cheese, lunchmeat…not Monte Cristos, Ruebens, or French Dips. Sometimes the soup comes from a family named Campbell, but at other times we have Barbara Shepard’s stuffed green pepper soup that would make Julia Child smack her lips if she was still living, or meaty chili worthy of royalty.

Soup warms up the palates and the conversation. Soup turns a bad day at work into an evening of reconsidered blessings. Our cooks and servers stand at the kitchen counter with smiles and greetings as young and old shuffle by with their trays extended and taste buds jumping out of mouths.

Before the kids head to Awana to learn Bible verses, and be told stories of the love of Jesus, soup preps the path. Crumbled up crackers are kind of like communion wafers ready to pull a person into the fellowship of the saints. Soup slurpers are living examples of grace. Making noises as a hot soup spoon of broth is being sucked in requires a lowering of personal pride and a raising of our understanding that all of us have fallen short.

The soup puts everyone in the same boat, knowing that we need each other to make it to the other side.

The soup also flows us towards serious considerations of where we are with God, each other, and life itself. It’s like the vehicle that carries us to the event. People talk about their days, tell humorous stories, show pictures of their kids, and release some of the tension that was apparent in their faces and shoulders when they had first arrived.

Soup has no hidden agenda. People donate a buck…if they want to or can. A second bowl is there for the taking if anyone desires…even a third. There has been a couple of Wednesdays this year where we ‘ve just added more water to the pot to take care of the larger crowd. Let me clarify that! We never add water to the stuffed green pepper soup. That would border on desecration, and be disrespectful of Barbara’s caring preparation. Only Campbell’s get extra water!

People say that Jesus comes to them in different ways…at a summer camp, in a sermon, through a tract in a hospital waiting room, or through an old-time weeklong revival completed by an altar call of extreme length. But I also wonder if Jesus begins to be glimpsed in the sharing of bowls of chowder and steaming cups of cream of something soup.

We’ve had several new families that have appeared on Wednesday nights. Those uncomfortable first moments of newness seem to disappear as the soup becomes the focus. Most people are hesitant about new surroundings, kind of like meeting your blind date for the first time…those initial moments of awkwardness when you feel sure you are going to insert one of your shoe soles inside your mouth. Soup connects and lightens the table conversation.

And it is delicious!

It’s interesting that there are a number of stories in the gospels about Jesus and meals. The meal was the icebreaker. There’s no fast food mentioned in Scripture. Jesus gets criticized for wining and dining with “sinners.” He goes home with Zacchias for supper and conversation. And, of course, the last supper in the Upper Room was the Passover meal being observed.

Food and fellowship roll on together like a team of horses pulling a wagon. Soup is an entry point for conversations about purpose, faith, life, and the next life.

Pass me another saltine cracker!