A Consecrated Cookout

According to the internet, something being consecrated means “having been made or declared sacred.” I understand it as something set apart, special and holy. A top-notch seminary education and a google search pair well together!

Though communion elements and religious sites and the Levitical Priesthood certainly come to mind when one thinks of consecration, on this quiet summer evening I am thinking about the weekend I just spent at my parents’ house. 

We are normally a family that operates on itineraries and plans. I like to say that resting is fine, of course, but it just has to be written into the schedule. So in preparation for our time in good, old Bucyrus, Ohio, I made sure to grill my mom on where we would get food and what we would do and whether or not we could carve out time for me to visit my favorite coffee shop in the world. She assured me that there would indeed be time for all of these things and more. She had a plan and I was comforted. 

But upon arriving, somehow, I began to care less and less about the plan and more about grinding my feet into the exact earth on which I stood in each present moment. The flavors of my latte weren’t exactly on point, but I did get to sit at the fountain on the square with a few loved ones, talking about big ideas over the sound of a man randomly playing the bagpipes barefoot. The Greek restaurant did not have grape leaves as I had hoped, but the chicken on my salad was grilled just right. The fireworks show was short, but it had an abundance of the kind that look like sparkling willow trees. We all got a sunburn, but we laid by the pool, together. 

Most prominently-our family dinner could not take place in a crowded restaurant, but that just meant that we could gather in the open air, in Keith and Rhonda’s big backyard, and relish all of the holiness that dripped off of those moments like honey. Normally I dislike wandering around my hometown for fear of running into ghosts from my past (I know I’m not alone in this), but there was something peaceful about cruising with my mom in her new car. “I’ll run into Carle’s and you go get gas. I will be out with some potato salad soon.” We were preparing for gathering, for time set apart, and a steadiness grounded me in the peace that comes with simplicity.

We ate and the grandkids all ran around barefoot like children. I was able to hit a wiffle ball and my husband took pitching very seriously. My cousin improved on her football spiral and Ryder fetched excitedly and the moms and aunts and grannies watched from the window, laughing as we formed living goal posts out of the bodies they had created with their own. The night ended with leftovers and an hours-long theological conversation. I could not help but wonder what in the world could be better than the life I am leading. 

It wasn’t much, but it was consecrated in that it was protected and sacred, set apart for the express purpose of rest and enjoyment and love. It has been a long time since I have been so centered, so far from bone-deep exhausted. This weekend, that cookout, those tiny moments were untouched and unblemished, consecrated. If we open our eyes, we see a sparkling sheen of holiness that coats every good endeavor. Call your family, call your friends, buy some hot dogs, and experience God. 

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