Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jesus Cooks Me Spaghetti

In my dreams.
Last week, in REM sleep.

I am dreaming, and it's one of those dreams where you dream you've just awakened from sleep.

In my dream, I am in my soft bed, slumbering. Suddenly, the aroma of garlic wakes me. I see myself sit up from my pillow and look around. I know someone is in my house -- and I know exactly where they are because of the deliciousness wafting into my room. I pull my legs to the side of the bed and sink bare feet into pink slippers, pull on a robe and walk down my hallway, towards my kitchen.

The lights are dimmed. Only the sink light and the microwave light over the stove cast a glow. Steam rises from a pot of boiling spaghetti. The source of the garlic ... a pan of rich meat sauce.

And who is standing in front of my oven, stirring the pasta, sampling the sauce with a wooden spoon?

You won't get over this:

It's Jesus.

"Wow," I say to myself. "Jesus is in my kitchen, cooking me spaghetti!"

Spaghetti is my favorite meal. It has been since I was a small child. It symbolizes comfort, nourishment. It brings to mind lunches in first grade, when my mother would pack Ragu-flavored noodles into a small thermos. It is the embodiment of care-taking for me.

And Jesus is making it for me.

"You're here!" He says, smiling at me. I stand at His elbow, the steam from the boiling water surrounding me like a warm hug. I watch Him stir the sauce.

"I have something for you," He continues, turning to grab something on the counter. He hands me a heavy frosty glass, filled with a rosy liquid. "Have some Communion wine. It's your favorite."

I bring the wine to my lips -- ahhh! It's the same wine I receive during Communion every Sunday morning! And it's COLD! It's delicious! It coats my throat, gloriously quenching my thirst, setting off my taste buds like fireworks.

Jesus keeps smiling at me and turns back to the stove. I say nothing. I'm simply in awe of Him, amazed that He's actually here in my kitchen, making me dinner, giving me Communion wine with His own lovely pierced hands.

But what is most amazing ... there is a song playing over and over as Jesus and I stand side by side while He cooks. It sounds like a Lutheran liturgical chant. Lilting tenor voices tenderly massage the melody.

And these are the words they are singing:

He prepares a table before me ...

in the presence of my enemies ...

He prepares a table before me ...

in the presence of my enemies ...

He prepares a table before me ...

in the presence of my enemies ...

Over and over they sing the words.

Over and over.

Over and over.

And then I wake up.

I'm in my room. It' 6 a.m., time for Neil's school bus to arrive shortly. The bedroom is black. The sun hasn't risen. There is no garlic, no cozy kitchen, no Jesus standing at my stove.

But my heart is warm.

And within two hours of waking ... I face enemies.

I face people who don't understand me, who judge me, who fear me. I face betrayal. I face hate. I face mortification. I face undeserved shame. I face callousness.

But in the midst of it -- in the midst of all of it ... I see Jesus in my mind's eye, standing before my stove, cooking spaghetti for me, handing me an ice cold glass of wine.

I hear the song of monks.

He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

He did. He prepared me for my day. He reminded me before it started that He would be with me, that no matter what was ahead of me ... He'd prepared the table.

On Sunday morning, a few days later, I went to the front of my church for Communion. As my pastor poured the wine into a small cup for me to drink and I lifted it to my lips, the same fragrant bouquet hit me as in my dream.

I closed my eyes and smiled.

"Hey," I said to Him.

"Thanks for the spaghetti. Thanks for preparing the table before me. Thanks for Communing with me. And thanks for Your love."

I heard Him speak in my heart.

"You're welcome."