On not going to church and making soup instead

Since I can't go to church anymore, I've settled into a new Sunday morning routine. I help get the children dressed and out the door with their dad (they love church--and I'm happy to support them) and then I pour myself a second cup of coffee and pore over soup recipes. Sunday Supper has become something of an art-form, an act of worship for me. There is something almost sacramental about soup making.

I never set out to be a Soup Enthusiast, but here I am. To my great surprise, I've discovered there are few things in life as completely satisfying as the sound and smell of freshly minced garlic, onions and leeks popping away in a hot bath of unsalted butter. Making soup is like creating art except you get to eat it afterwards.

I've never been an eager cook. The domestic arts were bludgeoned into me as a child--the mark of Good Woman being her facility with a frying pan. For a long time, I viewed the kitchen as a sort of prison. What I objected to was not the cooking itself, but the overlay of spiritual obligation. I hated being told that my worth as a woman was directly related to my ability to cook well.

My worth as a woman--as a PERSON!--had nothing to do with whether or not I baked cakes from scratch or from a box. All of this is to say, for a few years after leaving the cult, we ate a lot of take-out.

But now, I'm experiencing a sort of rebirth, I think. I'm not going to church, I'm not playing the Spiritual One-Upmanship Game, I'm not competing for eternal rewards. I'm more concerned with what's going on in my soup-pot than with whatever sermon series the pastor has cooked up.

My kitchen has become my holy of holies where soup making is an act of worship. I'm creating something nourishing and wholesome, something I know will bring joy to my family. The act of cooking is full of anticipation: oh, won't they LOVE this?

We sit down together, light the candles, fold our hands and pray aloud in unison. Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Here is ritual. Here is sanctity. Here is peace.

I know it's no substitute for a true Sacrament, but for now, soup is my offering of worship.

Today I'm making Potato and Leek Soup. Again. Because there's pretty much nothing holier than soup that requires heavy cream! Can I get an amen?