I am making soup today. Split pea soup.
It is kind of a homely soup to make to serve at church tonight, on Holy Thursday. But I don’t have much time, just getting back from New York last night, and many other things to do today besides making soup. Split pea soup sort of makes itself (after you chop up the celery, carrots, and onions!).
I am feeling a little embarrassed about making this kind of soup for such an important day. I know that this feeling is unreasonable–it is a very good and nutritious soup–and that the feeling harks back to a time in my life when I felt humiliated by my Sunday School teacher.
One year, when my family was really struggling financially, my mother said we would have pea soup for Thanksgiving dinner. I was delighted. I loved her pea soup.
But when we were asked by the teacher what we were having for that special dinner, everyone else mentioned turkey, ham, or roast beef. I said, “Pea soup.” She disbelieved me, told me I was wrong—“your mother is a good woman and would never do that!” I felt really small.
Of course, my mother set her straight (you had to know my mother–she could do that with anybody). She told me not to be bothered by people who try to make others fit their ideas of what is right.
Still, almost 60 years later, I feel it.
But it will be split pea soup tonight–and bread and salad and cheese and dessert and tea. Not bad for getting ready to join Jesus in washing feet.
In fact, maybe it is the perfect meal for such a night. That supper was not about the food–it was about the love of Jesus, especially for those who walked with him every day. He wants to wash our feet, and for us to wash each other.
It is a homely act of profound love. Like making, and sharing, pea soup.