Eric and I spent a few days last week on the North Shore. The only planning for our time away was to make a reservation at Lutsen Resort for a condo with a full kitchen overlooking beautiful Lake Superior. Our plan originally had been to spend time sightseeing in Milwaukee, with daily visits to Leif and his family in Kenosha. But with the coronavirus running rampant in Wisconsin, we decided it would be safer to spend our vacation away from an urban setting. The North Shore fit the bill!
The plans we made every day were scheduled around mealtime. We wanted to get out for hikes and sightseeing in Grand Marais, but we did not want to eat in restaurants, due to safety issues. Thankfully, both of us enjoy cooking, so we prepared and ate all meals at our condo. With a cooler full of food brought from home and a quick shopping trip at the awesome Cook County Whole Food Co-op, we created some delicious and nutritious meals. The photo, above, shows a bowl of lentil/farro/kale/tomato salad that I whipped up one morning. A simple salad, a good mystery book (purchased at Drury Books in Grand Marais), and the sound of water lapping at the shore made for a perfect luncheon experience!
As we move into the third week of the worship series, “Come to the Table”, I would invite you to reflect on the influence of mealtime in your life. For some people, eating each meal occurs at the same time, day in, day out, with everything else scheduled around mealtime. When I was a kid, mealtime on the farm was like clockwork: breakfast at 6:30, dinner at noon, and supper after “Hogan’s Heroes” (5:30). For others, mealtime may bow to the schedules of work and kids’ sports. When Hans and Leif were little, and Eric’s work schedule changed from day to day (he was in the restaurant business), mealtime necessarily needed to be flexible. In the end though, the most important element of mealtime—beyond the food—was that our family came to the table to share in a meal.
One of the many losses brought on by the pandemic is the human ritual of gathering at the table to share in a meal with family and friends. This loss will be felt exponentially during the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving Day and Christmas, when the ordinary ritual of mealtime becomes a celebration of life, community, and God’s goodness. This year, Eric and I will not be able to gather with family for these special celebrations. But we will get through it, looking forward with fresh appreciation to that day when we will be able to come to the table again with loved-ones for a shared meal of good food and conversation.
May the resilience and hope God gifted each of us strengthen us during this holiday season.