I had my eyes peeled this morning looking for ‘a symbol of mercy in the ordinary’. While rifling through the kitchen cabinets, trying to figure out what to prepare for my sister who has just undergone surgery, I spotted everyday mercy–comfort food. This is what we do, right? When someone is sick, when babies are born, when people die, when milestones are met: we offer the comfort of food.
When both my babies were born there was a steady stream of delicious casseroles deliver to my home by our church family. Meals were quietly brought in and arranged in the kitchen, while mom and baby rested on the sofa. Quick hellos and blessings were offered, prehaps a short visit, and they were on their way. It was a favor offered, a mercy, without expecting anything in return. My brother-in-law asked about all the food,
“Do you know all these people?”
“Mostly,” I answered, “they are church family and friends”.
” I have never seen anything like this,” he responded, incredulous to the well-oiled machine that is church hospitality.
Those meals were amazing. Anyone who has had a child knows what an enormous blessing it is not to have to plan a meal, shop, or cook for a few weeks. The power of food to comfort is pretty amazing. It can be a cup of tea for a friend, hot coco for a child just in from the cold, a piece of candy snuck into a husbands’ lunch box, chicken noodle soup for the sick, or a banana bread for a new neighbor. God Himself provided the manna that sustained the Israelites on their travels through the desert. We too have the power to sustain, heal, and comfort on this side of heaven. An everyday necessity, and ordinary solution. When people are tired, or hungry, or sick, or happy, we feed them.
So there it was, right in my kitchen, the ingredients to bake something, the ability to offer compassion and caring, a symbol for mercy in the everyday.
The color of mercy