The following post is part of Ann Kroeker’s Food on Fridays series. She’s a good lady. You should visit her.
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
It is how the South comes to visit your newborn, like the wise men bearing rich gifts. Friends come substituting gold for lasagna, frankincense for garlic mashed potatoes, and myrrh for Framboise. They know he’s not the savior of the world, mind you, but they treat him as if he were manger born. Maybe they are entertaining an angel, unaware. It’s best to think about infants and strangers this way.
…wine to gladden the heart of man…
There’s this website where church ladies enlist for meal duty after the birth of a baby. The address reads “takethemameal.com,” which I appropriately read as “take the ma meal.” Amber asked, “don’t you think it’s read ‘take them a meal’?” To which I replied, “only if some Yankee created that web-site.” She laughed as if she were not the one raised in Mayberry, as if she were a Harvard educated, blue-coat sympathizer. “Yanks are easily misunderstood,” she said.
…oil to make the face shine…
Visitors ask to hold Titus, our newest who breathes double-time, compensating for a bit of a heart hole. They place hands on his chest and pray for strength and healing. They pray that he’ll be a strong man of faith, that he’ll be lion-hearted. He whimpers an infant’s amen, staring wide-eyed into the face of his newest friend. Love becomes tangible when baked into a homemade apple pie by the hands of a fervent intercessor.
…and bread to strengthen man’s heart…
Bless us, oh Lord, and these your gifts which we have received from your bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
**A tribute to those of you who graced us with bread, wine, and prayer over the last few weeks. Thank you, friends.