People ask me, “What are you doing in Denver?” I tell them I’m helping Karen Taylor and Tammy Ross cook 700 meals for our youth group from Bartlesville, with very little refrigerator space which means I’m on a first name basis with grocery clerks on Colorado avenue.
In the midst of cooking, washing dishes, and carrying groceries, I’ve questioned my sanity. I ate a chicken burrito forgetting that I had committed to pescetarianism. My friend, Nathan Hill pointed out my violation of diet or I may never have noticed. Somehow, grace reminds me of my shortcomings, but grace never leaves me where I am.
I volunteered to cook for this remarkable youth group because of many creative cooks, mostly ladies, who made delicious casseroles the size of Rhode Island out of government cheese and red tag meat.
Hundreds of times in my life folks have placed food on my plate and told me they loved me. Church camps, mission trips, youth group gatherings…and I remember another moment of grace involving food from my youth.
As a youngster, I started a grass fire next door where carpenters were building a house. Sweaty sawdust-coated arms carried plywood sheets and smothered the fire before it spread to the house. Those carpenters saved my hide. Soon, they were taking a coffee break gathered around a plate of warm cookies prepared and delivered by my Mom.
My Mom used food to preach grace.
Paraphrasing Anne Lamott, The mystery of grace is that God loves Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and me exactly as much as your child. Grace finds you exactly where you are, but it doesn’t leave you where it found you.
I never fully appreciated those who have walked before me, those who have cooked for me, and those who have offered grace to me during my formative years.
This is why I’m cooking and why I’ve been to Sprouts and King Sooper and Wal-Mart 20 times this week in Denver.
Our Adams Blvd Youth group have been spending their days making crafts with children in the hospital, serving food to the homeless, sweating on construction sites, hiking up to St. Mary’s Glacier, and visiting the Museum of Science and Nature.
What a great group of kids. They are respectful, hard-working, and empathetic as they listen to stories of children who have been abused and are now fountains of healing and grace working for Compassion.
Thank you to all the beautiful souls who have placed food on my plate even when I set fire to the neighborhood.
Grace never leaves us where it finds us.
…grace takes us all to its bosom and proclaims general amnesty. See! That which we have chosen is given us, and that which we have refused is, also and at the same time, granted us. Ay, that which we have rejected is poured upon us abundantly. For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss have kissed one another!”