Today’s epistle reading is from Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome, Chapter 14. It features this interesting verse:
“Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables.” (Romans 14:2)
I’m sorry, but there will be some who will not hear anything else. And on their behalf, let us pray:
We know your servant, Paul, was going somewhere with this. To live in tolerance of one another’s preferences and practices. But let us pause here to thank you for all the lowly vegetables. Thank you for the weak people that eat them. Thank you, that in your weakness, you ate them. . . as surely as you blessed them — on the Third Day — when you created them as the first order of business after light and water and dry ground.
Thank you for blessings like Arugula, and Acorn squash,
Basil, Butter Beans, Brussels, and Buttered Corn,
and Cabbage, Carrots, Collards & Cukes,
For Dill and Endive, Escarole and Edamame.
For Fennel…that mysterious bulb,
and Garlic, Grits (also corn) and Green Beans,
and Hoppin’ John and Hushpuppies (more corn),
Iceberg lettuce (especially on BLTs),
Jicama and Jalapenos.
For Kale, for Limas, Leeks and Lentils.
For Maple Syrup, and Mustard (greens and seeds)
Mushrooms and Mac ‘n Cheese (a southern vegetable).
For Napa Cabbage and New Potatoes,
For Okra and Onions and Peppers,
Parsley, Peanuts and Potliquor,
— and let me insert here: Porkfat,
which is not a vegetable, but which
is a blessing to most all vegetables.
And for all the edible plants I don’t list or know —
and that might start with letters Q, U, & X.
For Radishes, Red Beans & Rice,
Ramps, Rhubarb and Rutabagas.
For Spinach and Scallions and Sugar Snaps,
Squash Blossoms, Sweet Potatoes and wise Sage.
And, before I die, can I try Salsify?
For Tea that we drink, sweet and dark,
for Turnips and Tomatillos, and most of all —
for TOMATOES: Queen of Summer,
in all her forms and presentations.
For Vidalias and Vegetable Stocks.
Watermelons, Watercress and Winter Squash.
And lastly, Good Lord of the Garden,
for Yellow Yams and Zucchinis.
And, thank you for your servant, Paul,
who put you above his food preferences,
and who now enjoys in your presence
some very good vegetables in your house,
at your table. And so, Amen.
“Eat such things as are set before you, and receive the nourishment available in this day as a gift, whether it looks like extravagant abundance, painful suffering, or simply a boring bowl of leftovers.” (Tish Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, after the Rule of St. Francis and Luke Luke 10:8)