Why We Need to Gather – and simple summer sides of #kitchentherapy

“Good morning, Lord.”

Yes, that’s how the prayers at church begin. All of them. Always with a beautiful salutation, always with a radical reminder that prayer is conversation rather than recitation.

“Good morning, Lord.”

There’s something so personal about those words. They don’t begin with the formality of a well-crafted letter to a stranger. Rather, they are a testimony to a God who is ever-present, ever-walking, ever-engaged. He’s the Lord I remember from my childhood – the Savior I never saw in my home, but always saw in my mind’s eye at my Aunt Prudence’s house, sitting at the dining table with her as she read her bible or drinking lemonade and talking about the day on the sun porch as Uncle Roy tended to the sunflowers outside.

I thought He might be a nice God to know. It took a while, but I finally invited Him to sit with me.

The salutation is made before we break the bread of communion. It is made again as we pray for people and governments and our community and the elementary school that graciously allows us to turn the cafeteria into a sanctuary each Sunday, complete with real candles and red wine.

“Good morning, Lord.”

“I want to teach you a Latin phrase this morning,” the good vicar smiles. “Lex orandi. Lex credendi. It’s basically translated as ‘the way of praying is the way of believing.’

“In the beginning of local Christian gatherings as we know them, there were no written words bound in books, no beautiful creeds penned by theologians, no true formal structure of how things were supposed to go to make a church service flow well. What came first was people – and worship. That still needs to come first.

“We need to remember that what we do together forms us. The word ‘liturgy’ literally means ‘the work of the people.’ When we gather together, it helps make us who we are. We pray together. We worship together. We confess together. We work together to celebrate and prepare for the next place the Lord wants us to be.”

He smiles again. “And communion? It’s the most subversive act of our gathering. It’s a public declaration that we dare to give thanks in all things. All things.”

Liturgy. Communion. Lex orandi. Lex credendi.

 

“Good evening, Lord.”

As I set the table and pour the wine for the God-crafted family that has gathered around our dining table for more than a decade now, I see all that forms us here. God is always seated with us, holding our hands as we pray, laughing with us, savoring the meal. Using our touch, He is tenderly wiping the tears that fall in our brokenness. Using our arms, He is drawing us close and telling us that we are not alone. Using our voices, He is whispering hope and healing. Using our lives, He is infusing us with His.

If the way of prayer is the way of belief, I pray that our words be a conversation that helps make us whole.

I pray that for my table, and I pray it for yours.


It’s been a while since we’ve been able to gather at the table. Most Sundays as of late have been spent in other places (like developing countries), so #kitchentherapy was truly therapeutic. I pulled out two real-life cookbooks to find  simple summer-happy recipes to go with slow-smoked chicken infused with lime, ginger, and coconut milk. I think you’ll like all three of these. And since the table is a place where we can truly be ourselves, I have a confession to make. I only made cooked carrots because Brad likes them. I like most foods, but believe that carrots are meant to be raw and raisins are meant to be grapes (and eggplant should never be considered a “meat substitute.”) This recipe, inspired by Anna Watson Carl and The Yellow Table, has changed my mind. Drat it all. I’ll be making these carrots again (but I still stand my ground on raisins and eggplant).

 

CHILLED AVOCADO BISQUE

(makes enough for 6 appetizer portions)

Inspired by Williams-Sonoma

1 large ripe avocado, peeled and diced

1 medium English cucumber, peeled and cut into pieces (reserve a few slices for a garnish)

1-1/2 cups veggie or chicken broth

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 T. fresh lemon zest

¼ cup fresh mild tomato salsa

1/2 cup buttermilk (you can use sour cream, but buttermilk is a little healthier and creamier)

¼ cup finely sliced green onions

Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor or blender, combine avocado, cucumber, and broth and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process until combined. Season to taste, transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill at least 3 hours.

Serve in small cups or bowls, garnishing with a slice of cucumber, a small dollop of sour cream (if desired), and a bit of pico de gallo.

 

EXCELLENT CRAB AND TARRAGON SALAD

(makes enough for six portions)

Inspired by Williams-Sonoma

Six Campari tomatoes (or you can use cherry tomatoes if you’d like – you’ll need around 20)

½ pound cooked crab meat, blotted dry with a paper towel and then flaked (I used claw meat, but you can use lump meat as well – just be sure to get out all the shell fragments)

1 T. fresh lemon juice

1 T. fresh lemon zest

3 t. finely chopped fresh tarragon (reserve some of the leaves for a garnish)

1-1/2 T. mayonnaise

A few drops of hot pepper sauce

Salt and pepper to season

Prepare the tomatoes by cutting in half and scooping out the seeds (a melon baller works well to do this). Turn the tomatoes upside down on a paper towel and let drain for 20 minutes.

Mix the crab with the rest of the ingredients, and chill for at least 2 hours. Gently fill the tomatoes with the mixture, garnish with a tarragon leaf, and enjoy the goodness!

 

DELIGHTFUL ROASTED CARROTS WITH ORANGE, THYME AND GARLIC

(serves four to six)

Inspired by The Yellow Table

1 pound bunch carrots, rinsed and scrubbed, and halved tip-to-toe if very large

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small can mandarin oranges, packed in juice, drained thoroughly

2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

6 sprigs fresh thyme

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside. Prep carrots a bit by steaming them in the microwave or in a saucepan until al dente. Place prepared carrots on the baking sheet, lay a few orange sections on top of each carrot, sprinkle with olive oil, thyme, and the garlic. Cover pan and roast until the carrots are completely tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to roast until the edges of the carrots begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Season to taste and serve.

This entry was posted in Community, Faith, food, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , by Ronne Rock. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ronne Rock

LIFE. LOVE. LEADERSHIP. AND A LITTLE #KITCHENTHERAPY. Ronne Rock’s heart finds its strongest beat where beauty and pain collide – because hope always finds us in the shattered places. There’s more than 30 years of marketing and communications experience in her bones, and she finds great joy in sharing leadership wisdom as a regular contributor to Orange Leaders and QARA. But more often than not these days, she's with the vulnerable in difficult places around the world, gathering stories that change stories. Find Ronne's words in "For You, Love" the prayer journal that invites you to respond, and in Everbloom, a collection of stories from the Redbud Writers Guild. She is currently writing, "Building Eden: Principles of a Grace-Filled Leadership that Restores and Redeems."   Ronne is represented by Karen Neumair at Credo Communications.

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