My writing

Three Poems And A Point

For those of you who remember the traditional description of sermons, I hope you enjoy the title of this blog. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, you can ask in the comments. I actually wrote a couple of these poems last week during the time of Easter Weekend. The first relates to the emotions on the Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection. While we’red dealing with issues of isolation now due to COVID-19, I tried to imagine the isolation, fear, and sadness of the disciples as they were hidden away, locked out from the world in the upper room.

Saturday

Finished

Death

Dark

Isolated

Alone

Hiding

Fearful

Sad

Depressed

Angry

Tears

Wary

Finished

 

The next poem celebrates the resurrection as experienced on that first Easter Sunday

Mourning Turned to Laughter

An early morning walk

Filled with questions and tears

Who will do it?

An uncovered tomb

Empty

Angels question

Why seek the living among the dead

Worry turns to wonder and then to joy

Running with the news

Others still skeptical

Even after looking

Still fearful and more confused

All but Thomas

Saw Him

Felt His scars

Mourning turned to laughter

Lives transformed, empowered.

He lives

 

After I wrote it originally, I took out a couple of lines relating to Thomas. I’m one of the people who thinks Thomas gets a bad rap. I thought most of that took away from the poem. Still, I wanted to allude to the situation by noting that all the other disciples saw what Thomas asked to see later.

 

I wrote this next poem today. As we deal with the battle of some in the church to continue meeting in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak as they proclaim that the church is essential, I thought a lot about the problem. While I had some decent thoughts about this, the Breakpoint commentary  “The Non-Essential Church” helped me solidify my thoughts. What have we become as a church, that we need to fight about whether or not we’re essential. The last three lines of this poem are the point in the title.

 

Relevant

The church is dying

Or so we heard

It’s not relevant

In these modern times

When life moves

So fast

And we responded

So fast

And we became

Hip

With it

Relevant

And the church

Was full again

We rejoiced

We were relevant

In tune with the world

Then trouble came

And we were so relevant

We were no longer

Essential

 

Daily Work

The Spiritual Side of Egg Salad

The Pastor at my mom’s memorial service asked a great question: “What is it about the Egg Salad Sandwiches?” Apparently, after she died, people started telling the pastor that they’d really miss her egg salad sandwiches. Before my mom became bedridden, any time the church got together, my mom could be counted on to show up with her egg salad sandwiches. While the ingredients were simple, everyone raved about those egg salad sandwiches. Her pastor missed out on that joy.

As I pointed out while I shared at her memorial service, my mom had a secret ingredient that didn’t show up on any recipe card: love. She didn’t make those sandwiches to fulfill an obligation to provide something for people at those church get-togethers, she shared her heart as she made them. She made them for her pastor, her fellow deacons or Sunday School teachers, or fellow committee members. She made them for her children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. I’m sure that she thought about each person who’d be eating them as she made them. She loved the people in her church, and she loved her family, and egg salad sandwiches were one way that she showed that love.

Egg salad sandwiches take a little more effort to make than most sandwiches. For most sandwiches, when you decide what you want, you take the bread and slap on a dressing, some meat, some cheese, and maybe add some lettuce or tomato. Egg salad sandwiches are different though. You have to prepare for them. Eggs must be boiled, then peeled. After I rinse off the bits of egg shell that may be left, I dry the egg on a towel, because water just doesn’t work with egg salad. I chop the egg up, or double cut it with an egg slicer. Then, you mix in the mayonnaise, the salt and the pepper, put mayo on the bread, which, according to the Mary James standard, should be the very thing white bread, and finally add the egg salad.

Tonight, I had the opportunity to do something I know my mother would have enjoyed: I made egg salad sandwiches for a get together at church. We’re doing a dramatic interpretation of Holy Week called “Journey to the Cross” by having people welcome Jesus as He entered Jerusalem, go to the last supper, experience His prayer in the garden and His arrest, go through the trial before Pilate, pray at the cross, and experience the joy of the resurrection. The church is providing snacks each night, and tonight was my night to help.

As I made the sandwiches, I thought of the love my mother showed to everyone by making her sandwiches. Then, I thought about the people who would be eating the ones I was making: the cast, crew, and the participants. While I didn’t know who would eat those sandwiches, I prayed as I spread the mayo on the bread and added the egg salad. I prayed that not only would they enjoy the food I was making, that even more so, that God would strengthen their faith or help people begin a walk of faith because of tonight’s event. I can’t say for certain that I experienced the same kind of love that my mother did as she made her sandwiches, but I can tell you that a lot of love was added to the egg salad sandwiches I made.

Sometimes we go through the motions when making or eating food. We say the right words before we eat, or after in the tradition of some, and then don’t give another thought to it. Today, I had a spiritual experience making egg salad sandwiches. I thanked God for the heritage of my family which continues to stay strong. I thanked God for providing the ingredients. I prayed over each sandwich that those who ate it would experience special blessings from God. I was reminded of the great provision God makes for each of us. I’m reminded that I should never take food for granted, especially in a world where it’s sometimes scarce. All because of a sandwich.