Pass the… Macaroni and Cheese

After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them (Mark 1:29-31, Common English Bible).

This is part 21 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.

Until I started watching Food Network several years ago I had never given much thought to macaroni and cheese one way or the other. I had eaten it in various forms for most of my life. When I was a child my mother would get out a box of macaroni and cheese, prepare it, add ca can of cream of mushroom soup (still one of the few ways I like mushrooms) and a can of tuna fish, mix it all together, with that and a can of green beans or some other kind of bean, we had a fast and easy supper from time to time.

As a young adult and father of two growing boys I created one time when Cindy was away on a business trip and I had to feed my two eating machines. A pound of browned hamburger, a box (family size) of macaroni and cheese and a can of nacho cheese soup (contrary to what the little girl said on the commercial for a particular brand of boxed macaroni and cheese about that brand being the cheesiest, I was determined to make mine cheesier) all mixed together was a dish my boys loved. Several adoptions happened over the years but it is still a favorite.

I don’t each mac and cheese as much as I used to. Being diabetic macaroni is on the list of things not to eat very often. When I want one of these two these days I substitute spaghetti squash and we make our own version of mac and cheese.

As I watched Food Network I discovered that this dish that we had growing up and as a young father, was classified as a “comfort food.” It is a food that makes people think of better times. It makes people remember home.

I have a lot of memories of home, both home growing up and home for our family after Cindy and I married. I know it isn’t the case for some people, but those memories are good memories. I am not saying bad things never happened. That would not only be naive it would be an indication that my memory is pretty faulty too.

I also remember, when I was in the Navy and Cindy and I lived in Norfolk Virginia, we never referred to the place we lived as “home.” We would call it, “the apartment” or “our place” and maybe a few other things, but not home. Home was reserved for our thoughts, memories and discussions of Texas, particularly Houston. Those memories of “home” brought us both comfort at times.

Still, I never really associated any of those memories with the idea of home, even if we did eat it pretty often.

Our lesson today finds Jesus and Simon and Andrew along with the Sons of Zebedee (John and James) to the home of Simon’s mother-in-law, a woman sick and in bed. I can’t help but think about her in this story. Here she is sick, in bed with a fever and that son-in-law of hers goes and brings company home.

It wouldn’t take very long, however, for Simon’s mother-in-law to realize this wasn’t just any company. This was company that could make a difference fast. Have you ever been sick and wanted to take a pill and see a miracle happen and you become better instantly? Most of us have, but Jesus wasn’t a pill, but she did better in a really big hurry. Somehow, now miraculously healed, I don’t think she minded getting up and serving this group so much after all. While the scripture doesn’t say it, I wonder if she served them macaroni and cheese. Well, probably not. But, in the future, when these guys once again ate whatever she served, I can’t help but think their minds went back to the day they saw Jesus heal Simon’s mother-in-law.

Such stories would be told around Simon’s family dinner table many times in the years to come. If you think about it, to be included in the Gospel it had to be retold at least a few times. Since the Gospel it has been told countless times. I also think, with the telling, Simon couldn’t help but let his mind wander back to all things home.

When I think back to many things, things like macaroni and cheese, it isn’t long before I get a bit of a smile across my face. It brings back good memories. It brings back memories of home and I am thankful.

I am thankful for all things home. I am especially thankful for macaroni and cheese.

So, please pass me the macaroni and cheese. I would like to dish up a nice helping. I know, it isn’t good for my blood sugar, but hey, its Thanksgiving and I will go out and walk it off.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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