At church we’ve got this thing going on for Lent called Simple Lenten Meals. Every Friday, after the 5:30 p.m. Mass and stations of the cross, there’s a simple meal served down in the north conference room. Today was my committee’s day, the Adult Formation Committee’s day, to serve the meal. Mary Junk and I both made soup, hers minestrone and mine lentil soup. Lentil soup for a Lenten meal, get it?
I had thought that Mary was also bringing some sort of warming tray or, failing that, we could use the rectory kitchen to heat up the soup. But turns out Mary has made her soup this very afternoon. And the rectory kitchen is not available. My pot of soup has been in the fridge all night and day. What can I do?
Luckily there’s at least a microwave in the little kitchen off the conference room. I find two ceramic serving bowls and start ladling the soup into those for nuking. The pot is pretty massive and there’s nowhere else to put the soup. So I have to empty the heated portions back into the big cold pot, then stir it around to transfer the heat, then ladle and heat again. And again. And again. It’s almost warm enough to eat after an hour, when stations are over and people start trickling down.
First down is Barbara Reck, who’s always a treat to see. Pat and Marinella have brought bread and cheese, and Kirse made sure there were pitchers of water in the fridge. So we serve a nice meal to about 45 people. Father Caulfield stops by at one point, as does Deacon Work. It’s also my first chance to park in the church’s parking garage, since I had gone home to get the soup and brought it in the car.
Dawn asks me when I get home if we said grace before the meal. And honestly, we didn’t. It never crossed my mind, actually, and I feel a little bad about that. But the people eating had just come from mass and stations of the cross, so they’d been praying for like the last two hours. And they formed this long chow line, so there wasn’t really any moment proper when everybody began eating at once, a moment to pause and say grace. But still, I feel kinda bad for not having even thought about it.
 Turns out that Lent is a shortened form of lenten, derived basically from roots meaning length, as in the lengthening of the days come spring. Lentil, on the other hand, derives from lens, having to do with the shape of those seeds of leguminous plants. Or so says the Online OED.