Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bread & Wine

I am finally back to the rhythm of reading. Simultaneously I'm out of sync in writing my musings on these books. So let me begin to reconcile that lapse.

One of my favorite memories from our time at Open Door was when we joined another couple in the church and decided to invite the entire church to dinner. Well, not at the same time, but monthly over the course of several years. We did just that.

Every month we invited four people to our houses (we alternated hosting every other month) so that we had eight around the table. The host did the drinks, appetizers and main dish. The other couple brought the sides and dessert. My partner in hospitality just happened to have the gift of hospitality. She made it so easy to entertain. (The guys were great too.)

It was crazy fun. We invited our guests, month after month, to tell us their stories - their family of origin, how they got to Denver and Open Door, how they met their spouse, and all about their children. It was amazing.

And that is precisely the point of Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table by Shauna Niequist (daughter of Bill Hybel).

"It's not, actually, strictly, about food for me. It's about what happens when we come together, slow down, open our homes, look into one another's faces, listen to one another's stories." Yep, exactly!

"It happens when we enter the joy and the sorrow of the people we love, and we join together at the table to feed one another and be fed, and while it's not strictly about food, it doesn't happen without it. Food is the starting point, the common ground, the thing to hold and handle, the currency we offer to one another."

"Food is the language of care, the thing we do when traditional language fails us, when we don't know what to say, when there are no words to say. And food is what we offer in celebration...."

And, of course, there are the recipes. Twenty-nine of them. Recipes like blueberry crisp, mango chicken curry, bacon wrapped dates, magical white bean soup, dark chocolate sea salted toffee and maple balsamic pork tenderloin.

Shauna got me all ready to start entertaining again. Being part of a dinner party every month was an amazing joy. And I miss it. Bread & Wine just reminded me of the incredible joy of family, friends and neighbors around the table.

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