If you’ve ever had Chocolate Chip Pecan pancakes from Zada Jane’s in Charlotte or the Pumpkin Pecan pancakes at Blueberry Hill in the southern Chicago suburbs or the Potato Pancakes at Walker Brothers in the northern Chicago suburbs, you know that eating pancakes can be a religious experience.
Pancakes are forbidden for most Whole 30, Keto, or gluten-free eaters. The historical reason why Christians eat pancakes on the day before Ash Wednesday is to get all the sugar and butter out of the house before swearing them off for Lent.
Pancakes are a treat. Good pancakes are heavenly. Pancakes that appear to show the images of Jesus and Mary are . . . interesting, mostly for what it means to see Jesus and his mother at breakfast.
We who long for deep meaning and purpose seek signs. A burning bush would actually be terrifying and who would believe us? A blinding light knocking us off our horse on the road to Damascus seems a little over the top. But gentle signs – we prefer those: like that still small voice (which is also translated as “sheer silence.”)
Or we try really hard to find signs where there are no signs. Is the fact that I didn’t get that job a sign that God has better things for me? Or is it a sign of misogyny? Is the fact that the Person-Of-My-Dreams is alternately abusive and sweet a sign that I’m called to be with this person to save them? Or is it a sign that I need to get out fast?
We look for what we want to see and this is one reason we need a community. We need people who will tell us the truth we don’t want to hear. We need people to pick up our pieces after we’ve been shattered. We need someone to take us out for pancakes when it’s been a rough week.
I call this community Church. At its best Church lavishes truth, healing, and comfort on all who gather and we do this because we have seen the power of truth, healing, and comfort that God offers.
Take someone out for pancakes today or take yourself out for pancakes. And look for signs from God about what we are supposed to do and be today. Chances are, today will have to do with telling someone the truth, healing a broken spirit, or comforting the grief-stricken in the name of the One who created us to be holy. The signs are all around us that this is what the world deeply needs.