77 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
By Rev. Christian Coon, Christ UMC, Deerfield
It’s been said that too many cooks spoil the soup, but I think you have to make an exception for guacamole. And enchiladas.
Our church was the site of a cooking class last week and it was one of those glimpses of the kingdom of God that is beautiful to behold. Some background: For the last few months, a team from our church has been praying, discussing, and discerning how we can reach out to the Hispanic population in Highwood, a suburb located a little north and east of Deerfield. Our hope is that this outreach would be the beginning step of starting a new United Methodist faith community in that city. Through all our discussions, we were clear that whatever we did, one of our goals was to simply be good neighbors in Christ’s name, to share and to listen, to serve and to be served.
The first event that we organized was a Three Kings Day Party January 6 at North Shore Estates, an apartment complex in Highwood that is predominantly occupied by residents who are first-generation Mexicans. Our second event was with a resource at the North Shore Estates called the Nuestro Center, a place where residents–mainly children and youth–can access a variety of services including tutoring, childcare, and wellness education. One of the services the center provides is a healthy cooking class for parents and they held their last class at our church. About 20 members of our church crammed into our church’s kitchen to watch and learn from these 16 women from North Shore Estates as they prepared and cooked avocados, tomatoes, chicken, peppers, and tortillas. Not many of the women spoke English, but everyone there understood a universal language–the beauty of preparing and eating together. Members of our church were there to listen, watch, and learn. Residents of North Shore Estates were there to teach and exhibit a wonderful amount of patience. We were all there to laugh, eat and, I hope, take in the scents and sounds of holy friendship, all in the name of Christ.
It was a joyous evening and a great opportunity for our members to begin to get to know these Highwood neighbors. We see them from afar, but talk to them rarely. These get-togethers are just the beginning for us to--as in Luke 24:30-31--have our eyes opened to Christ’s presence in the breaking of the bread. Or, in this case, the folding of corn tortillas. Holy guacamole, indeed.