This is how you shall eat it, your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in hand, and you shall eat hurriedly. It is the Passover of the Lord. — Exodus 12:11.
Today’s scripture reminds us that God at time is like a caring mother. Before everyone goes on a long journey, they need to eat a good meal. I read this passage, and I remember my mother or my grandmother refusing to let us “out of the house” until we “ate something.” Or when I would pass through Knoxville or Atlanta, my Aunt’s Virginia or Dot sending me back on the road with chicken salad sandwiches or fried chicken “for the road.” For me the picture of a woman’s love and care is embodied in my grandmother, my mother, and my aunt’s concern for me not going hungry. (For those of you who wonder, of course Suzy is right there with them.) If you have ever attended a southern funeral, you know that a host of food is delivered to the mourners. (Chess pies and pound cakes are a few of my personal favorites.), but the spreads can be amazing.
When a child is sick, what mother hasn’t fixed the child his or her “favorite meal” when he or she is able to eat. In so many cultures food is not just a matter of tradition, it is an outward and visible expression of love. I wonder as typical gender roles change and men spend more and more time learning to cook, whether they will learn to express love through food like my grandmother, mother, wife, and aunts. I hope so.
For now it is interesting to realize that God was also one of the first Jewish mothers, telling her family: “You are not leaving this house, until you’ve eaten.”