Why Eat Soup?
By the time this newsletter reaches you, the season of Lent will be underway. Our mid-week Soup Suppers and Worship will begin on Wednesday, March 4th. One question that I have been asked over the years in the congregations I have served is “Why do we eat soup at church during Lent?” It’s a good question. It is often followed by queries of why can’t we have a potluck with casseroles, etc. The answer, of course, is that we could have a different type of meal. But we CHOOSE a simple meal of soup and sandwiches. But, why?
The answer lies in both church history and the mood we try to set in Lent. Some folks will remember a time when they were told they “had” to eat fish on Fridays during Lent. When I talk to people about this, what they often remember is doing it out of a sense of penitence – a way to make up for their sins. And yet, that is not what is found in the bulk of church teaching.
Think of it in these terms: Simplicity, Solidarity, Generosity. The key idea is to build into our Lenten journey a practice that makes us more mindful of helping others who are in need. The idea is to pick one day a week to eat a smaller, simpler, less costly meal, like soup and a simple sandwich. The next step is to save the money we saved by eating less of a simple, cheaper meal, and donate it to a food ministry that helps people who do not have enough to eat. What are these ministries? Local food banks and soup kitchens, Lutheran World Relief, Heifer Project, and many more.
You may think that you don’t really save that much money over the course of six weeks, and wonder, therefore, if your donation really worth it. Yes, it is! Remember that in many parts of the world, it costs less to feed people than it does here. And even if you make a donation to a local food ministry, every penny counts and helps feed another person who would otherwise go hungry. AND – you might just decide that you have enough to make a more substantial donation.
So eat soup once a week. Or a couple of eggs and toast. Or some other inexpensive simple meal. Eat it at home, or come to Good Shepherd on Wednesday nights. Just try it once a week during Lent. Keep track, prayerfully remember those who have less, and make that donation to a food ministry. Remember that helping to feed others is one way we honor Jesus’ call to love our neighbors as ourselves.
And may God bless you during this season of Lent.
Pastor Susan Lynch