A Metaphor for Relationship

If there’s one thing that Education for Ministry (EfM) has given me is a wealth of new ideas for reflection. EfM is a four-year course, although I’m in my fourteenth year of learning and acquiring new vantage points. 

Each year, I am required to attend a yearly training seminar for accreditation as a mentor. Each seminar offers the opportunity for new experiences. If I find I’m not good at a particular area, I am allowed to ask that we cover it in the seminar, so I can learn to lead better. If I’m reasonably strong in another area, I  share my experience and knowledge with others to help them in their journeys as mentor. 

Last month I attended the training seminar, recharging my batteries and filling my brain with new ideas and techniques, to serve my group better. I returned home with new insights for my life as both a mentor and a Christian. 

At one group session, we were asked the question, “What kitchen gadget represents your relationship with God?” Maybe this question sounds goofy, but it is exactly the kind of question we use as a check-in during group. Participants respond by incorporating their past week has gone within the framework of faith. Some answers are amusing, others are painful to hear, and still others are uplifting. All are insights that can start any one of us on a meditational journey of our own sometime later.

It is funny, but simple questions are often the hardest to answer. I don’t remember how I answered the gadget question, but the question itself has come back to me for a second round of meditation. Am I a  spatula, turning thoughts and feelings to find out where I am and where I am going in my relationship with God? Or, could I be a whisk or hand mixer combining various ingredients into a unified whole before adding to something else to make a cake, an omelet, a sauce for a stir fry, or a milkshake? Does God enter my world as a recipe to follow so I can create a cake of pleasure and delight? Or as a product to give sustenance to others as a sign of love, or comfort? 

There are so many other ways to answer the question. I might be a paper towel used to clean up a mess. I might be a bundt cake pan – I simply love the design it gives to a cake. Or, a strainer separating unwanted dross from the important parts, leaving God as chef to decide which is which. There seems to be no end to what I might be. 

I could draw the conclusion that I want to please God and to love, support, and comfort my neighbor, just as Jesus directed. Another is that even if I make a mistake or a mess, God will forgive me for it and help me clean the mess up, with no loss of love from God.  

Questions like this that actually make me think about something important – my relationship with God. They also change as I pursue insights using a different thing, feeling, or situation. The exercise is mental and spiritual, each side being important in its own realm. 

What kitchen gadget would represent your relationship with God? Give it a try. Your mind might serve up some interesting thoughts for you to ponder.

Image: Kitchen utensils. Author: jeppestown (2009). Found at Wikimedia Commons.

Linda Ryan is a mentor for an Education for Ministry group, an avid reader, Baroque and Renaissance music lover, and a fumbling knitter. She keeps the blog Jericho’s Daughter. She lives with her three cats near Phoenix, Arizona.

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