I ate the last of my Granny’s pear preserves on a gluten free bagel today. I stood there at the counter and scraped every last bit out of the mason jar with my orange plastic kid’s knife from IKEA: every sliver of pear, every drop of that sweet syrup clinging to the walls. And I cried while I did it. Granny is ninety-six and says she is done with making pear preserves. She has been giving them away for Christmas for years – huge honey-colored jars sealed up tight. I can picture her cutting mounds of ripe pears and cooking them slowly in the big pot and steaming all those lids closed. A lot of love in a jar. And I cried because I love her fiercely and she is so beautiful and strong and at the same time so fragile.
It is scary to eat the last bit of Granny’s pear preserves. Scary because it feels like taking one step closer to losing her. Scary because the thought of losing Granny hints at my own mortality and also because it points me to work that I might be invited to pick up (you all have heard me wax poetic about my desire to can.) Scary because it is my ultimate comfort food and now it is gone.
This week we celebrate the last Sunday of the Christian liturgical year, properly known as the Feast of the Reign of Christ, or Christ the King Sunday. Let’s admit it, Christ the King Sunday is kind of awkward. It is a relatively recent addition (1925) to the calendar when compared to the ancient practices of Eastertide and Epiphany. And if you just take it head on, it seems to elevate a lot of themes that many in our community do not find life-giving i.e. a sort of militaristic, uber-powerful Christ that will beat you up if you don’t get in line.
But the Feast of the Reign of Christ focuses our attention on one of the great paradoxes of the tradition: that of the Servant King. I think that labeling Christ with these two words which seem to be opposites may disrupt our normal dualistic categories in a good way and open us to a different appreciation of the Mystery. This week is also a hinge point in the calendar drawing us out of ‘ordinary time’ where we have spent the last half of the year and positioning us to enter Advent and as such it is kind of like New Year’s Eve– a good moment to analize one’s life and reflect on lessons learned and hopes for the future.
So on this final week of the liturgical year I am taking stock:
Last jar of pear preseves. Gone
Transformative community in which to share this and other stories. Gained
There is more on my list of course, and each of you have your own lists of that which has been lost and found during the past year. Let’s share these lists with each other in the coming days so that we may enter the new year lighter and with more grace.
Peace of Christ to you all this day,
6:30 PM Community Dinner tonight at our place, 304 Archer Ave. Dallas TX 75211. call 214 233-4605 for directions. Paul is organizing the food- touch base with him if you can contribute. 469-951-7322