On a phone call last week, a friend asked if I’d been cooking or baking anything interesting recently.
This was a great question, because judging from my social media feeds, I’m not the only one trying out new recipes during this stay-at-home season! I told my friend about my new favorite Betty Crocker sandwich bread recipe, and the cocktails I’ve been making with ingredients from the neighborhood garden.
“Oh yeah,” I said. “I also made a chicken pie this week from the recipe book my mom gave me when I graduated high school. It was my favorite meal when I was growing up. It’s nothing special, though, just a simple chicken pie.”
My friend paused for a moment and said: “But it is something special. It’s special because it means something to you and your family!” She was right.
Truth be told, although it’s totally delicious, the chicken pie is nothing particularly special, at least from a culinary point of view. I used a premade pie crust, and the recipe is pretty foolproof.
I’m pretty sure it’s just a chicken pot pie for people who don’t want veggies in their pie.
But that recipe is special to me because it tastes like home. I eat one spoonful of chicken pie over rice and I’m transported back to my childhood home in Greenville, S.C., at the kitchen table with my parents and my two brothers.
When I made it for the first time a couple weeks ago, my fiancé and I enjoyed the pie not just for its taste, but also because in the act of cooking and eating it together, we were being grafted into my family’s long history of cooking and eating together.
Last fall, my colleague Rev. Nate Sell preached a sermon in the Rejoice! service on a passage from 2 Timothy that has continued to delight me. In it, the apostle Paul, writing to his young colleague Timothy, says this:
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:5-7
What a lovely tribute to these women, Lois and Eunice, who nurtured this young disciple in his faith, from before he could even claim that faith for himself.
This passage reminds me of all the women in our lives who have been for us a “Lois” or a “Eunice.” These are the women who have set the path of faith before us, who have shown us in word and deed what it looks like to live a life of faithful discipleship.
These may be women to whom we are related by blood (mothers and grandmothers and aunts), but they may also be women who have become family through the household of Christian faith. These are the women who:
- cradled us in the church nursery as newborns,
- taught us Bible stories as children,
- have sung with us in the pews,
- held our hands as we received Communion,
- and hug us when we need it.
These are the women who have mothered us in the faith.
On the first page of the cookbook my mom made me, there is a dedication page. On it, my mom dedicated the cookbook to her mom, my grandmother Doris.
My mom writes: “This book is dedicated to Doris DuBose, who added a dash of love and a sprinkle of kindness to every dish she prepared. When I think of my Mom’s cooking, I think of comfort – warm, filling food that tasted great and made me want to pull up a chair to her table every evening.”
When I make a recipe from that book, I think of the women in my life who have raised me in the faith, and I give thanks for their witness.
This weekend, I invite you to do the same. Who has been for you a “Lois” or “Eunice”? Who has paved the way for you to live a life of Christian discipleship? Who has taught you what it looks like to live faithfully?
May we give thanks for those faithful followers, and may we learn to be like them.