Last Sunday evening we enjoyed some “home cooking” – tamales! Of course growing up I did not know how to spell tamale much less cook them. Yet this past weekend I sat with my family and enjoyed a “mess” of tamales prepared by a sweet couple who work on my father’s dairy. They are both from Mexico and speak very little English, but they work hard and cook even better.
The occasion for the tamales was my daddy’s birthday. This couple wanted to do something nice for him and so they prepared a homemade Mexican meal for not only my dad, but all of us. I even went back to Augusta with leftovers, which is unusual when all the DeLoaches gather together to eat! All of the cooking took place in my grandmother’s house, which is where they now live.
After my grandmother died a few years ago I worried about her old house. This house contained so many memories, most of them in the kitchen. It is where we rested, where we talked, where we ate and where we knew we could go no matter how far we had strayed. I could hardly stand the thought of the house empty and silent. Now the house is full again with two lives who want to do much the same as we did years ago. The smells of my grandmother’s kitchen use to be of fried chicken and biscuits, but now they have been replaced by tamales, corn and peppers. Either way my grandmother’s house is still a home.
Homes nourish. They feed the body with nutrients; the heart with memory; and the soul with love. Do you have a place that is home to you? Houses come and go but I am convinced that homes have a certain enduring quality that pass from one generation to the next.
When I think of what church ought to be and can be I think of the image of home. Guests, strangers, and familiar faces alike gather bearing gifts, love, and service and it is through the sharing that we find authentic nourishment. Maybe that is why when Jesus fed the five thousand he first looked to the disciples and said, “You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:16). Church is when we give of ourselves to others that they might be fed. Church is also where we too come and pull a chair around the table and fill ourselves with a taste of home.
May all who come here be nourished.