One of my favorite books as a child was “There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.” My grandmother was a librarian so she had the inside track on all of the good children’s books when we were growing up. I don’t know if it was the rhyming or the irony of my lovingly prissy grandmother reading us this book about an old lady who swallowed a fly, but I loved that book. It’s kind of morbid if you read all the lines but hey – it was memorable.
Last night I enjoyed a dinner where one person found a fly in their food – still alive – stuck in the thousand island dressing and then when the manager came over to check on our main courses as they had arrived, we found two large hairs coming out of my steak. Delish.
This is a place where my parents have eaten often and I’ve eaten there a few times with them as well. We have had many good meals there and so in some ways, having one REALLY bad experience, you would think wouldn’t cancel out all of the good experiences. But then there’s something with something like this that makes you pause and think to yourself, if there’s live flies and steaks with hair coming out of the kitchen, what’s happening on the inside?
One of yesterday’s lectionary texts was Philippians 2:1-13 and there’s so much that can be learned from that text about who we are on the inside and what a community looks like when Christ’s love is lived from the inside out. Jesus didn’t just put on a nice facade on the outside to cover the decay on the inside. He lived out his calling authentically and radically. I know none of us are perfect and that sometimes the example of Jesus seems a bit daunting in a hurting and fallen world, but my hope is that even if Gordon Ramsey was to pop into the sometimes dirty kitchen of our hearts, that we are real with the things that challenge us and the things we’re working working and that we excel at. May we need just treat the outer symptoms, but also the very roots that can sometimes creep in and hold us back….whether that’s pride or arrogance or self-indulgence or anger or frustration or self-sabotage or lack of care.
Hope I don’t have any more memorable meals any time soon but a good word for our Wesleyan way of checking on how well it is with our soul. Thanks be to God for the grace and the continued love and healing and Spirit to keep moving and growing and changing and drawing more and more closely to God.