Faithful Food: Power in a Word

by Kim Long

Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies. Proverbs 20:15

There is an old story in which a penitent seeks forgiveness for gossip (read here words that hurt or offend whether intentional or not). The priest forgoes a traditional penance of prayer instead charging the penitent with these instructions: cut open a feather pillow and shake it out and gather all the feathers to refill it. This lesson can be applied anytime speech goes awry.

Recently, this happened to me with my daughter-in-law. No malice aforethought, no anger, just one person trying to be helpful and the help – which was offered in kindness – was not received as intended. The path from brain to mouth to ear is not always straightforward, often the route is fraught with nuances, tone and points of reference to which the involved parties are not always privy. This can run the best of intentions afoul. God speaks creation into being and with His help, repair can occur.

Once my offer of help was uttered it took a moment to see that it wasn’t helpful at all. I saw my daughter-in-law struggle, become upset and then suddenly she was very busy, too busy, and brightly cheerful. Always a bad sign. I was ready to throw my bags in the car and leave, my rode home paved with cowardice, escape my sole aim, good intentions all but forgotten.

Thankfully, I abandoned my first instinct. Speaking a second time I allowed God’s loving kindness to guide me, reminding me of the love I feel for her, gratitude for the happiness she brings my son, and her goodness to my grandchildren. Those feelings come from a deep reservoir of Divine Love, available and waiting for us when we are ready. Understanding between the two of us was spoken into being that late Friday night with much help from God.

You would think as a writer awareness of the power of words would be second nature for me, but not always.

Beginning with a blank page, a sentence, or a scrap of memory, we as writers weave something around these fragments in an effort to make them whole and complete and, by extension, ourselves. That text holds us accountable. With spoken words carelessness is almost second nature, and calling those words back to us is impossible. Words have the power to build up and tear down sometimes in the space of a few moments; take care with them.

Like most of us, whether intentional or not, I have feathers I am chasing, but when kind or cheerful words lead me to respond rather than react, I believe I am refilling my pillow that way, too. With God’s help, I pray that I think before I speak and that when I must give chase He will guide my steps.

With 66 references in both testaments enjoining the wise use of speech, and 56 references about honey and its benefits, this offering combines the two. Here is a little prayer before you begin: “Lord guide my hands as I create this dish both for your glory and the nourishment of those who will eat it. May we always be mindful of what is offered and how we receive it. AMEN.”

Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are your words, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

Milk and Honey Kugel

Ingredients:

• 16 oz package of egg noodles

• ½ cup butter

• ½ cup honey

• 2 teaspoons salt

• 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

•  ½ cup cream

• 5 large eggs

• ½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Boil and drain noodles and return to pot.

3) Add butter, honey, salt and vanilla sugar.

4) Mix well and add eggs and cream.

5) Pour into a buttered casserole dish and bake for about an hour, or until kugel is golden brown and firm to touch. Serves 8-10.

This unusual dessert should make for some good conversation since your words are already sweetened! Enjoy!

 (from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner, published by Skyhorse Publishing copyright 2013)


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