The Spiritual Discipline of Making Soup


Hurricane Hermine visited last Friday. By the time she reached us, she was a Tropical Storm with the standard rain + wind that you would expect. Whenever we anticipate these seasonal storms, I like to stock the pantry with canned goods, plenty of snacks, and then I put on a pot of soup.


Making soup is usually reserved for the fall and winter. Our springs and summers in the South are notoriously hot and humid. We eat as lightly as possible. We aren’t quite to autumn yet, but having a storm on our hands meant that my red Lodge Dutch Oven was brought out of hiding and placed in its cool-weather residence on the stovetop. 


Seeing my Red Pot again caused me to breathe and to smile. It was like the return of a good friend who had been absent due to travel, busyness, or illness. I couldn’t figure out why tears formed in the corners of my eyes and why the presence of enameled cast iron made me feel nurtured and cared for.


Soup takes time. Its very nature demands a slowing. I chop the celery, onions, carrots, parsley. I gather some thyme and rosemary from my clay pots on the front porch. I ream a lemon into a clear glass bowl. I cook the small seasoned pieces of chicken in olive oil and measure the orzo.


The Spiritual Discipline of Making Soup


All the ingredients sauteed and tended come together to meld and to simmer into something greater than the individual parts.


Making soup is an act of contemplation. The tactile nature of chopping causes me to notice the vegetables and kindles gratitude in my soul for farmer, for nutrients, for access to these. 


Making soup is an act of presence. It requires me to be all here, right now, in my place. I cannot hurry and rush to my next task for soup preparation requires time and space.


Making soup is an act of service. Receiving a bowl of soup from loving hands is a gift of care with real restorative power. The warm broth heals the body and nurtures the soul.


The Spiritual Discipline of Making Soup


Sometimes it’s in the very ordinary spaces of our days where we meet Christ and sense His with-ness. I find Him in red pots, in the garden’s gifts, in the slow nature of chop and simmer.


When we slow down, we become aware of ourselves, our people, and His gentle movement. Slowing allows us to quiet, and therefore, to listen. Promptings of the Spirit stir in our souls as we stir the bubbling broth.


 And we become like Jesus when we ladle those bowls with steaming soup, just as He fed His people on the shore. Jesus feeds those He loves, and we do the same.


Autumn is a season where busyness seems to dominate. Overflowing schedules, rigorous rhythms, and growing task lists. Maybe soup is one small way we can press pause and find some silence. Jesus shows up in the bread and the wine so maybe He will offer His presence alongside the Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup too.