Recent Images of God

I’ve been reading Lauren Winner’s new book Wearing God. She expands on many metaphors of God found in scripture (a pregnant lady, clothes, rocks) — it makes me think of finding God in the nooks and crannies of life, the Incarnation wrapped up in the every day, just here for us to discover. One of my favorite things about the book is Winner practices the metaphors — she tries them out and thinks about God in different ways.

I was watching Chef’s Table. If you haven’t watched it and you remotely love story, food, or documentaries, look it up on Netflix. Each episode follows one master chef and tells his/her story through food, cooking, and restaurants.

The most recent episode told the story of Chef Niki Nakayama and her restaurant in Los Angeles, Nnaka. Chef Nakayama is meticulous and serves her guests five courses of Japanese food. The episode was moving along as usual, telling bits and pieces of Chef Nakayama’s food story and personal story mixed in with her fantastically creative dishes. I liked her spunk and her story of becoming someone in food even in the midst of her traditional Japanese culture.

And then they said it. Right in the middle of the episode.

Chef Nakayama doesn’t serve her guests the same dish twice. In fact, her guests don’t even get to order any of the five courses at her restaurant.

She plans different five course menus for each guest each night at her restaurant.

Which means the servers at the restaurant keep detailed notes on what each guest had on each night, including what they most liked and what kind of experience they had. To never be repeated again.

“I want them to experience my intentionality,” Chef Nakayama said. “I want them to know I knew they were coming.”

And just like that, in the middle of my living room, I was caught up in the image of God. Tearing up at the beauty of this profound gesture. An experience so normal around our family dinner table — to make something because a guest loves my lasagna — practiced daily at Nnaka in LA.

Doesn’t this mirror the love we experience daily? The intentionality of the completely ordinary, wrapped up in the notion that God knew we were coming? I could dwell on this for years. I’ve allowed some space in my life for God to sneak up on me in the form of pink clouds, certain friendships, and delightful music and books. But I’m a huge fan of free will and choice and God working amidst normal human life (meaning I don’t think God plans out our every moment) But recently, I’m caught up in thinking of God like Chef Nakayama, planning different life courses for different days, simply because God wants to communicate that God knows us/our needs/our humanity.

And if I were sitting at the Nnaka of the divine (or our every day), what would I be served? How would God communicate God’s love? My Grandma Rita’s toast served at her breakfast table at her old house, the radio on top of the fridge talking about the weather. My mom’s salad that she started making when I called her to tell her I was coming home. The Orange Peel Christmas Cookies Ryan, Ashley, Kelley and I made when we were little at Grandma Bishop’s house. Scott’s tea he gets out of bed to make me every day.

And what if we moved beyond food? How would God communicate God’s love? Kind words from people you love? The same opportunities to experience life each day? The ability to respond to people we interact with? Bread and wine at the table?

The combinations are endless.

How do you experience God in the every day?

Originally published at on June 14, 2015.

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