February 24, 2014
Life is Deliciously Celebrated Together
Day 55 February 24, 2014
Celebrate in Community
“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” -Ruth Reichl
“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.” -Mitsugi Saotome
What does celebration in community mean to me? Why, gooseberry pie, of course! Yes. There really is such a thing as a gooseberry. I know this to be true because my mom’s famous gooseberry pie showed up on the table at every family gathering. Dad grew bushes of the berries…everywhere! He would pluck the tart green berries from the thorny bushes and spend hours tediously removing the stems and rough bits. Each berry was treated with care and concern and then handed over to my mother to add her culinary magic to their ritual. She knew the formula for mixing it all up in the kitchen to ultimately create a piece of heaven in a pie plate!
And mom would serve her creation with smiling eyes and a generous heart to all of us gathered around the table. I loved to watch her as she would proudly cut and distribute each portion as all eyes focused in anticipation of the first tangy sweet bite. It was a ritual our family and community shared with one another, gathered around the table. Gooseberry pie, in that moment was what we found as the common denominator creating peace in our celebration. No matter what our other differences and disagreements were mom and dad’s pie united us.
Perhaps this is the way of the Kingdom of God. Table rituals of community celebration abound throughout the scriptures and also in each of our personal stories. I can imagine Jesus’ friends gathered around the table at the wedding feast, watching in awe as He turned water into wine. I wish I could have been there when He gathered around the table with his disciples and blessed and broke bread with them. And when he did “their eyes were opened, and they knew him.” (Luke 24:30,31). Perhaps this hints at the idea that when we share our gifts around the table with one another in community, we too, can see each other more clearly through eyes of loving companionship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that “Our life is not only travail and labor, it is also refreshment and joy in the goodness of God. We labor, but God nourishes and sustains us. And this is reason for celebrating.” -Trish Hernandez