I was sitting all by myself at the kitchen table after dinner. Everyone had eaten and left, and my mother was cleaning up. It was staring right up at me. My third grade feet couldn’t touch the floor, so running when her back was turned was not an option. Staring at me was a tongue taken from a calve sandwiched between bread. A cute little calve became a mute, so I could stare at it as though the tip stared back at me.
“Calves Tongue,” considered a delicacy and served in our humble Manitowoc home. There was nothing delicate about living in Manitowoc, so why push this delicacy into a young person’s mouth? I had my tongue, so I boldly told her, “No, No, I’m not gonna eat this thing.”
Not one to lose, my mother insisted, hence my sole presence at her table. If only she’d introduced it to me in French, “langue de veau,” I would have gobbled it up and bragged about it the next day at school. “My mother can cook French!” Nope. It was only said in blunt English. When she turned off the kitchen light, I suspect that was my cue to tough it out and eat the darn thing—a battle of wits between a forty-six-year-old and a nine-year-old.
I took a small bite and ran to the sink, and spit it out. She made her point, and I made mine. I tried a piece. It was a win-win except for the calve who now needed to learn sign language.
All right. What does this have to with Easter and sin? Our God is patiently waits for us. The delicacy of forgiveness is staring us right in our face. Psalm 23 cleverly tells us, “You set a table before me in the sight of my foes.” In our honesty and sincerity, we put our weaknesses right where we can see and control them. We already do this with our gifts and talents, so why not proudly and humbly hold dear to our sins?
What we take for granted but is interesting, the resurrected Christ’s body still shows the holes and scars. One author writes, “there’s a Japanese tradition of repairing broken pottery pieces with lacquer dusted with gold. The artist will take the broken work and create a restored piece that makes the broken parts even more visual. Jesus came not to fix us and not just to restore us, but to make us something new.” Another shares, “If a scar is a healed wound, a wound that the body has managed to rescue and restore – then in some way, Christ’s entire bodily form, having suffered the ultimate injury of death but having been rescued and restored, is that of a scar. Perhaps our scars, which are so often a source of shame and regret, are the truest clues we have to the full form of our resurrection bodies.”
How often do we begin to think if only we only don’t call it “sin.” There must be a fancy-sounding French word for our failings? Perhaps a “minor lapse”? Or, how about naming it a “silly mistake”. Or, better yet, it was a “mindless error”. A favorite is saying the following day, “It was the alcohol talking!” (Which I believe is anatomically impossible.) Wouldn’t that make the swallowing of our pride easier? Nope, because that’s not the word. The word is sin.
Another author shares with us, “The resurrection of Christ Jesus reimagines our lives on earth. Life from above brings hope and healing in our worldly needs. Everyone learns about things of heaven when lives on earth are changed.” Everyone learns about things of heaven when lives on earth are changed. I like that. The mystery of mysteries. One more author. “Our griefs, shaming, betrayals, disabilities are so much a part of who we are that they will not be simply discarded and left behind. They will come essential to the beauty that awaits us.”
It’s the Easter hope of taking a small bite out of our pride and then spitting it out as a sign of release. Then turning off the light and enjoying a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow’s eyes are now opened a little wider and the days after. That’s a Easter hope. It’s a hope will never, ever fail us. God then even blesses us with a prayer of forgiveness, whether in the confessional or sincerely sent upwards from our hearts.
Try it sometime. You may be able to live more fully with your “langue de veau”. Mother said, “It’s high in protein.” Or is it the Divine grace glorified for us tomorrow morning.