Get Out of My Kitchen!
Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord or for the duties of the priests to the people. When anyone offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and he would thrust it into the pan, kettle, cauldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. – 1 Samuel 2:12-14 (NRSV)
Eli’s sons & their minions were villainous thieves in religious garb who preyed on people’s need for a blessing. They walked around with enormous three-pronged forks. Sound familiar?
These devils walked into people’s homes while the people were giving thanks and praise to God, and said: No. Do this on my terms. You owe me. Pay your debt. Gimme gimme gimme.
And nothing was ever enough for them. It never is, with the devils. They live in a hell of never having enough.
Everyone who knows me well knows that I like to cook alone. You wanna help me in the kitchen? Chop an onion and head on out. And while I’ve sometimes caught it for enforcing a no-one-in-the-kitchen policy, I have to say: I feel vindicated by this text. The devils walked into their kitchens & stole their food out the pot. Imagine how you, as the cook in that kitchen, would react to such an interloper.
Now, recognize your spiritual “kitchen” to be the space in which you tend to your own spiritual nourishment. It is the place in which you authentically encounter the divine. Guard that space with the same fierceness.
Minions of the sons of Eli are present, real, and actively trying to steal your blessings. And as they do, they inflict so much grief and pain upon you!
But try as they might, they cannot stop God.
Keep the devil out your kitchen.
Help me to keep my kitchen clean, O God.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.