“I realized today, that we need to get new silverware,” I admit to our dinner guests seated around the lamb at the table. “It’s gotten a bit dull, bent and scratched.”
“Oh, it’s just the patina of age,” responds a friend.
The forks, knives and spoons we eat from every day, they came in the will of my Great Aunt and Uncle Brock who passed away more than twenty years ago. Antique, their longevity now extends beyond the mouths they feed.
Walking into Aunt IO and Uncle Art’s house as a child, it was like entering a museum of Victorian beauty. Dark paneled walls, painted hurricane lamps, tufted burgundy couches with intricately carved arms and legs, glass cabinets full of collected works of art to keep young eyes entertained while hearty adult conversation waxed long into the night. And a display of guns to make collectors drool, in the room where I fell asleep when the card parties went on later than my eyes could stay awake.
I looked forward to bridge parties with my grandparent’s when it rotated to the Brocks house. Maybe it had something to do with the way they all doted on me, the only child in the room. Or the summers we bonded at the Lake of the Ozarks with the girl, I assumed to be their granddaughter. Until I discovered they couldn’t have children.
Uncle Art, a banker in a three-piece suit and round wire frames, he wore a kind smile behind the cigar he puffed while engaging people, scotch in hand. I inhaled the sweet fragrance of tobacco like welcoming a long lost friend.
In the haze of smoke and the clink of glass, I sunk into the couch watching beauty pageants to pass the time. And felt sorry they didn’t know the Savior I knew. At least that’s what I thought. Because their faith, it didn’t look like mine.
They were wealthy Episcopalians. Although I attended Catholic mass weekly seated between my grandparents on wooden pews, I found my own eclectic, evangelical brand of Christianity during the week, surviving my mother’s drinking habits and mood swings.
Somewhere on the winding road to Jesus, my husband and I fell in love with Anglicanism, after the Pentecostal seminary and a stint as missionaries. Then the sacred serendipity, it hit me on Saturday when I stepped out of the shower.
All those years I judged their faith through my small lens, unaware of what I now know as a pilgrim of faith with dust between the toes in my sandals. That they understood the sacredness of the ancient faith, the tendrils of reverence that drip the mystery, an abiding oneness with the Spirit that beats a rhythm carried beyond Sunday. Blinded by my own haughty perception that Jesus only looks like the one I understand, I missed their display of extravagant grace.
Then there was that day several years ago at the family cottage on the lake in Canada. When H’s grandmother, she shuffles slow toward me with a fist of spoons. Looks up at me through blue pools, wearing that grey crown of wisdom showing off glory and whispers, “Don’t you have spoons like these?”
I smiled and replied, “Yes, I do.”
She proceeds to the kitchen, sorts through drawers of collected mismatched utensils used over decades of summer sprawls. Places all the ones that look like mine in a plastic bag and hands them to me. Says she wants me to have them.
And may I swallow the bread of His life and drink the cup of His sacrifice, with wisdom from the instruments He chooses.
Maybe I don’t need new silverware after all.
Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” ~Isaiah 40:3-5