We are in the Easter season. And for me it is the most exciting and dynamic season of the Christian year. I love the stories we read during these first weeks of Easter, of the Risen Lord calling men and women to follow him. Gathered behind locked doors, walking on the road to Emmaus, having breakfast by the lake side, Jesus appears, and says, today, ‘Come, follow me.’ I am the way, the truth and the life. Come, follow me.’
But what I love is that Jesus chose each person to follow him in a different way. He seemed to delight in all the distinctive gifts which his disciples had, even though sometimes they must have infuriated him! They were a really mixed bunch. Each of them was very different, but Jesus loved every one of them, and loved them for their differences. For Jesus had called them for a purpose. He was building something very great. After the resurrection, he was building a Kingdom. St Peter, in a wonderful image, compares that Kingdom which Jesus came to build, with the building of a great spiritual house. And, Peter tells us, Jesus chooses each one of us, with our very different gifts, to be like living stones to be made part of the very fabric of this house.
I love this image, and it came back to me this year during the Easter Vigil. The vigil began in darkness of course, but slowly, as the sun rose, and shafts of light lit up the chapel, I was struck again by the beauty of this spiritual house. In particular I looked at the stones; how each one is different, different sizes and shapes. but skillfully chosen by Ralph Adams Cram to form this beautiful church. But then later in the Vigil we had the joy of baptizing Eva. During the baptism, the words which stood out for me were those lovely words spoken as her forehead was marked with the sign of the cross: ‘Eva, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit in baptism, and marked as Christ’s own forever’. I remember thinking that Eva and I and you and all who have been baptized, have been marked by Christ and chosen by him, because of our distinctive gifts and shape, to be living stones in God’s spiritual house, God’s Kingdom.
1 Peter 2:2-10
Those of you who have had an opportunity to stay with us here at the monastery or have had an occasion to join us for a Sunday meal know that I am a foodie. I enjoy cooking and eating all kinds of food, but most I most especially have a passion for southern cooking. While I love living here in New England and jump at an occasion to enjoy a Lobster Roll or warm up with a bowl of chowder, one of the things that I miss the most are the tastes of home. And so on the Sundays when I volunteer to cook lunch, I more often than not will cook food with a southern flair: Chicken Fried Shortribs, a variety of greens wilted in a homemade bacon jam, and classic peach cobbler a la mode is just one of the many meals you may experience when I’m in the kitchen.