By Marla Helseth
There is an entire chapter of the book The Supper of the Lamb, by Father Robert Farrar Capon dedicated to an onion.
Actually it’s about you, an onion, a paring knife and a cutting board. He says, “Do not attempt to stand at a counter through these opening measures. In fact, to do it justice, you should arrange to have sixty minutes or so free for this part of the exercise.” Father Capon is trying to get you, the reader, to slow down. To look. At. An onion. And see. The glory of God.
I love to cook, and there have been times when I’ve been doing the prep work before cooking where I have been arrested by the beauty of one particular piece of food. The burgundy and white squiggly windings of the cut open red cabbage, the shape and curve of the perfectly spaced lines on the outside of a clam shell, and the clear and loud colors of new corn and ripe red peppers — all these things make me pause because they are very beautiful and they don’t have to be. So why are they? Why is the thick orange of the yolk of a duck egg pretty enough for me to stop and take a picture of it? I think it’s because God is Love.
Here is how I connect those dots. God is a Maker. And He makes beautiful, wonderful things. If you cut open a red cabbage and gaze at it long enough it will declare to you, “God is glorious!” and after that it will declare, “God loves you.” The Lord did not have to give us beautiful things to cook and eat, but He did because He loves us and He loves His own glory. God shows His love for us in giving us a literally endless variety of food and combinations of foods and spices and herbs for us to explore and enjoy so that we will never exhaust the options!
We in turn show our love for those whom we cook for. As lower “makers” we also, out of joy and because of our love for the eater, make meals for the people we want to bless. Even Rebekah and her son, Jacob, though they intended to deceive Isaac, intentionally made food “such as his father loved.” They knew Isaac intimately enough to know how savory to make the roasted meat meal that he required and loved. (Genesis 27: 4, 9, 14) Everywhere we look at nature and especially when we gaze at items of food in their natural state we can see that God gives us these things because He loves us. God creates beautiful things through the Son that He loves for the people He loves because He loves His own glory. God is Love.
Death is also a way of declaring love, but of course only a Particular death shows true love. God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Belief in His death and resurrection for our justification and glorification is what unites Christians in fellowship with God at his banqueting table. Only in Christ, can we find nourishment that revives the soul.
During this Thanksgiving holiday take time to gaze at the food that you put onto your plate. Cherish the rich, rustic colors and textures and bless the hands that made them into a delicious feast. All things were made by Him and through Him and in Him all things consist!