Soul Food

Brian Bauknight



The late Ernest Campbell told the story of a woman who purchased a parrot at a local pet store.  Two days after her purchase, she returned to the store to report that the parrot “never talks.”  The manager suggested she add a swing to the bird cage.  “Parrots like to swing,” he says. 
She purchased the swing, took it home, but is back the next day.  “The parrot still does not talk,” she reports.  “Here, try this mirror,” the manager says. “Parrots like to see themselves in mirrors.”  So she buys the mirror. 
The next day, she is back again. Still no words from the parrot.  This time, the manager suggests a ladder:  “Parrots like to entertain themselves climbing up and down ladders.” She buys the ladder.
The next day, she is back one more time.  “My parrot died last night,” she reports.  “I’m so sorry,” says the pet store manager.  “Tell me.  Did the parrot ever say anything before he died?” 
“Yes,” she replies.  The parrot said, “Don’t they sell any food down at that pet store?”
Campbell then comments, “We have multiple ways to be entertained, or to make ourselves look good, or to climb the ladder of success; but where is the food for our souls?”
The search is on for some kind of soul food in our culture.  We have crystals and channelers; we go to mountain tops and mesas; we visit New Age sweat lodges and fitness spas. We may try Yoga or Zumba.   But a desperate need for soul food continues.
The human family longs for an accessible, substantive, even mysterious soul food.  I believe God has provided a source of that soul food in Jesus and His way.  A hymn writer puts it this way:
          You satisfy the hungry heart with the gift of finest wheat.
          Come, give to us, O saving Lord, the bread of life to eat.
                                                                   (UMH  #629)
We worship and reflect  in this Lenten season to discover or re-discover that all encompassing soul food.  We provide and lead worship moments to enhance this discovery process.  We come with our hearts open to the one Who is the sustaining and satisfying bread of life.


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