Parsonage Seedling

growing out of the brick wall of the parsonage

Palimpsest: Hearthcakes and Silence

Hearthcakes and Silence
1 Kings 19:1-15a

Gentle me, Holy One,
into an unclenched moment,
a deep breath, a letting go
of heavy experiences, 
of shriveling anxieties, 
of dead certainties,
that, softened by the silence, 
surrounded by light, 
and open to the mystery,
I may be found by wholeness, 
upheld by the unfathomable, 
entranced by the simple, 
and filled with the joy
that is you.
– Ted Loder

I suddenly remembered the cave where the prophet Elijah hung out while waiting to be either killed by Ahab or saved by God. An angel had come to him earlier as he sat in the desert under a broom tree, and the angel had given him a message. First the angel told him he should eat. This is one of my favorite moments in the Bible, God as Jewish mother: Elijah, eat something! The angel said he should eat, and then rest, and then retire to the cave and wait for further instructions. The angel promised that the Lord would be passing by there soon. So this is what Elijah did. He ate hearthcakes and drank a jug of water and then went to wait in the cave for the word of the Lord. First he heard a howling gale, but he didn’t go to the mouth of the cave because he knew that such loudness wasn’t God, “and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the  fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him.” The voice told him God’s will for him, what he must do to save himself and God’s people, and this of course is exactly what Elijah proceeded to do. – Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

But something happened when Ruth fixed me a plate of neck bones and green beans and made me sit down to eat it, or Ty-Jay offered me a sip of his ice tea. The sharing of food was an actual sacrament, one that resonated beyond the church and its regulations, and into a real experience of the divine. I wanted more. – Sara Miles, Eat This Bread

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life 
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now. 
– David Whyte


  • How have you known God’s presence in food?
  • How have you know God’s presence in silence?