Sunday, January 11, 2015

Soul Food

January 11, 2015

I’m in a nostalgic kind of mood
Thinking about soul food
Mother Green’s rolls
Christmas at Chew’s
Tables laden with food
Macaroni and cheese
Black-eyed peas
Potato salad
Homemade cakes and pies
A veritable feast for the eyes
Bobby Shelby’s brisket
And a buffet of food
On kitchen counters
Card tables
Soul food

Christmas breakfast at the Gray’s
How did so many folks get into that small room?
The best food in the world
Soul food

Food from the soul to the soul
Mixed with tears and laughter
Recipes passed down from slaves
Made with love by folks who knew
How to make a feast from just a few
Scraps and leftovers
Soul food
When there was a table for the kids
And they treated their elders with respect
Instead of terror
And adults acted like grown folks
A different era

Red Kool-Aid
Frappe punch
Watergate salad
In the church basement
A time when families like the Watsons were honored
To open their home for a late-night spread
After the revival
Houses filled with scents that were heaven sent
Soul food

Seasoned with love
And prepared with care
Like Mother Green’s coconut cream pies
Long ago ingested
But still alive
In my memory
My soul cries
For those days of old
More than just the food
The Gathering
The Memory

Soul Food

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Love Lifted Me

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.” 
Psalm 18:16

When I was about five years old, my mother enrolled me in swimming lessons at the Y. No problem. I was a great swimmer—in my bathtub. I would “swim” in the tub, kicking my legs and practicing my stroke.

 When the day of my first lesson arrived, I remember being in line and some of the other children in front of me jumping into the pool. In hindsight, they must have already known how to swim. No problem. I did too, or so I thought in my five-year-old mind.

I confidently leaped into the pool. I soon discovered a swimming pool is not a bathtub and also that I could not swim.

Some 40 years later, I can still remember sinking, drowning, knowing I was in trouble. Deep trouble. The world was silent. I remember looking up and all I saw was water swirling above me like I was in the middle and at the bottom of a tornado.

Then I saw a hand, a large white hand, reach down. The hand grabbed me by the back of my swimsuit and lifted me out of the water.  I could hear the screams of the mothers who sat on the bleachers on the side. I had been rescued by the instructor. I was back. I was saved.

Have you ever been in deep water? Have the situations in your life threatened to drown you. The world seems silent and you are alone. Are you sinking now? Sinking into depression or despair.
Sometimes we think we can handle life but we have been in the bathtub, not the pool. When we get into the pool, we realize the water is too deep and we are unprepared. The circumstances of life can consume us. Sometimes they are circumstances beyond our control. Sometimes they are a result of our choices. Whatever the case, we are headed for destruction and death.

The truth is we were all drowning--drowning in sin.

The hymn “Love Lifted Me” states it like this:

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I. 

Love lifted me. Love lifted me. When nothing else could help, love lifted me

God is up high but He reached down low and took hold of me one day. He saved me from my sin. I was on my way to death and hell. But God’s love lifted me, just like my swim instructor. His love lifted me because He loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Jesus the Christ, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you feel like you’re in deep water, look up. God is willing and able to pick you up. He will do it in amazing ways. He loves you.
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