I love my mama's cooking, but my grandmother... her genius in the kitchen was a marvel to behold. It was her superpower, and she knew it. Without fail, the ritual of Sunday dinners would draw us in like bees to honey. Family, preachers, if you didn't have a place to eat on a Sunday, you could swing by Ms. Johnnie Mae's house.
But you better not disrespect it.
In all those years of Sunday dinners, I never remember witnessing an argument or hearing a voice raised. Not at her table. Not at her house. Only laughter, jokes, and maybe a little cussin' from the matriarch just to see how the newbies would react.
What you did last night, last week, or last year didn't matter. All were treated the same at the big dining room table filling up the kitchen.
Now, I realize that things could not have been as pristine as my innocent eyes would see. Family is family. At some point, somebody's going to mess up or get fired up. But there something about that woman's kitchen seemed almost sacred. It wasn't until years later cooking for a new husband in my twenties that I realized the power of a good meal.
It was my first marriage and if felt at times like the arguments would never end except when I was in that kitchen.
I don't recall a single day that I stuck around to learn Ms. Johnnie Mae's artistry, but somehow it stuck to me and with me.
How do know?
There were no arguments in my kitchen, there were always new faces at my doorstep for a meal, and the full plates always came back clean.
All this from a woman in a toxic marriage with a broken heart.
It was a hard time, but I kept cooking.
Life had been hard for Ms. Johnnie Mae, but she never stopped cooking.
Jesus had been betrayed by friend and foe, and yet, it didn't stop the resurrected Savior from feeding the body, mind and spirit of His sheep - the disciples.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. ~John 21:12
The disciples didn't have to wonder who Jesus was.
His sheep know His voice.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. ~John 10:27
Their first two times with Jesus was revelations. This moment was for restoration, reminding them who, from the beginning to the end, who He is to them:
"I am the Good Shepherd".
Ascending to higher places requires transparency. Jesus knew how to speak and touch and love and restore those who knew His voice. Can you read between the lines and hear Him say:
"I didn't abandon you. Don't abandon me. Model me. Follow me."
Peter was a sheep before he ever became the rock upon which the church would be be built. Jesus, the ock of our salvation, would never asked him to do something He had not done himself.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” ~John 21:15-19
Jesus was preparing Peter for his own ascension, demonstrating even at the shore that you're never greater than when you serve and never stronger than when you love.
If you're my sheep, then feed them as I have you. Protect them as I have you. I have not judged you. Don't you judge them.
Even afterwards, Peter tested the waters asking about what was going to happen with the disciple, John. But Jesus made it clear:
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” ~John 21:22
I see Him responding like Ms. Johnnie Mae would.
"Not at my table, you don't."
This was soul food. Good for the heart, mind, and spirit.
Seasoned to season you, convict you, compel you, remind you.
My prayer is today you will have a new appreciation for Heaven's soul food, for the bread of life that is only available when you follow Him. Take it in with a shepherd's heart, but let it nourish you like a sheep.
Christ has risen. When will you rise?
If you believe God wants to take you higher,
then this is for you.
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In the meantime, take care.
Look like LOVE.
WRITER | MENTOR | TEACHER
LOVER OF CHOCOLATE |
PURPOSED TO EMPOWER |
30+ YEARS IN MINISTRY LEADERSHIP |
PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL
Phillipa also the Founder of ilooklikeLOVE, Inc., a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization providing diaper assistance to families in need and opportunities for mothers to empower themselves.
Look for her upcoming book,
GOD n You: Finding Your Place in Forever.