VERSE OF THE DAY

Hebrews 13:15
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

NEWS

Power in the Plate

The history of our food speaks of injustice— and invites us to redemption.

I sat in silence at a corner table of the bustling Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The spread before me was vibrant: a bright and creamy saag paneer, chicken curry spiced as one might find in the Kerala region of India, and stewed chickpeas prepared according to cooking methods from Delhi. A bed of rice tinged orange from turmeric and crispy bhatura, a yogurt-fermented white bread. The scent of star anise, black pepper, and roasted garlic rose from their respective dishes and melded together by the time they hit my nose.

Altogether, it achieved the symphony to which all chefs aspire, the trinitarian balance of acid, salt, and fat that elevates, without overpowering, the flavor of each element.

As a chef and scholar, a student of food theory and theology, I hungered for chef Vimala Rajendran’s handiwork in belly and mind. I’d long heard of her restaurant proclaiming the love of God through its blend of flavors and storytelling.

“A table laden with a variety of spices is a microcosm of how the world is made,” said Rajendran, whose work is daily influenced by her faith. “Spices personify that which is in people: fragrance, aroma, character, texture . . . intentionally made so by God the Creator.”

We sipped on cardamom tea and discussed its similarity to the Turkish coffee served at a bakery where I once worked. The warm bite of the spice elicited memories of my old roommate who’d grown up in Finland and encouraged me to incorporate cardamom into baked goods more often. While the tender green pod served as a point of contact between Vimala and me, a taste of the communion we shared, cardamom’s transnational culinary history is less enchanting.

It was ...

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Give Thanks for What Others Have That You Don’t

This Thanksgiving, praise God for other people’s blessings—even the ones you wish for.

One Wednesday night some years ago, I sat in a church prayer meeting next to Mandy, a single mom and dear friend. A few years earlier, Mandy’s husband had fallen into serious sin and left her to raise three young children on her own. But Mandy’s prayers that night were not for a change in her own difficult circumstances—though I’m sure she often cried out to God for that at other times. No, Mandy’s prayers were prayers of thanksgiving and rejoicing with others.

Of all the things on the prayer list that evening, Mandy chose to pray for the newly engaged couples in our church. She thanked God for their lives and their love, and she asked him to bless their upcoming marriages with happiness and faithfulness. She praised him for his kindness to these fresh-faced and starry-eyed young people and publicly shared in their joy. In essence, she gave thanks to God for everything that she did not have.

I have never forgotten that moment.

As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us will find ourselves in church gatherings or at family dinner tables where we have opportunities to give public thanks. Naturally, our thoughts might turn immediately to an inventory of our year. The blessings that are first on our lips and hearts will most likely be those we’ve experienced firsthand: steady work, warm house, loving family. But what if, rather than dwelling on our own circumstances, we choose instead to enter into someone else’s joy?

Scripture gives us a model for this practice.

The people of God are called to enter into the blessings of others and delight in God’s goodness wherever (and to whomever) it appears. “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Rom. 12:15) is our Lord’s gracious invitation ...

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OUR PASTOR IN PRINT

Faith That Sustains Open The Gift Breaking The Cycle of Rejection Begin Again Our Need for Others Our True Source.JPG Learning the Hard Way.JPG

UPCOMING EVENTS 

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