Ever since Husband and I married and I moved to Geneva (and now Sweden), our churches did not start early in the morning. For three years it was an 11:45am service and for the past year, we leave the house around 3:30pm for a 4pm service. The morning is slow, and we like it this way.
I head down to the kitchen, turn on the oven, pull berries out of the freezer and start mixing up this crumble topping from Shauna Niequist’s beautiful book Bread & Wine. Eventually Big Boy gets up, and we are all in the kitchen together. Children whine about hunger, Husband makes an espresso for himself and sometimes babyccinos for the boys, and it’s holy, all of the noise, the froth of the milk, the ding of the timer, the crunch of the walnuts and toasted oats. We sit around the table and fork mouthfuls of hot blueberries and crumble into our mouths with a dollop of Turkish yoghurt on the side. The boys don’t argue about this breakfast, and neither do I.
Confession: I stay in my pajamas until right before lunch. Husband and the boys usually stay in sleep clothes as well. And yes, this too is holy. Because it takes a level of intimacy with ourselves, with each other, with our Creator to know we can come just as we are, sleep in eyes and all. There are fights on Sunday mornings, disagreements about what needs to be done, coldness from other weekend struggles, some kind of toddler drama, I would be lying if I left this out. But somehow, some way, we find our way back, and this righting of wrongs, it is holy. This is our communion, receiving our daily bread with thankfulness, drinking from a cup of abundance because over 2,000 years ago someone made a way for us be who we are, to not be afraid, to be pajama-ed and unashamed.
The boys drift away from the table, one of us clears it, I’ll start chopping veggies to roast for lunch, perhaps make cranberry and thyme butter for the roast chicken. Often Husband pulls out his guitar, Big Boy strums the ukelele and Little Bear rattles a shaker or hits the table.
And we sing.
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus. Our God. King of Heaven. Beautiful One. Old songs, new songs, whatever Husband can play and feels like playing. Big Boy and I do the singing, I dance around our living room, waving whatever piece of fabric I can find as my flag, and it is so achingly ordinary, the sound of a child’s voice, our amateur musicianship, wrong chords, bad rhythm. But our house is a yellow cathedral reaching arms up to heaven, touching beauty, calling it down. On earth as it is in heaven. The divine reaches down to us again.
A few weeks ago we finished singing, Big Boy sits on our grey sofa, ukelele in his lap, innocence in his eyes, and says, Mommy, can we have church in our house?
I wish I could tell you that I had a clever response. The truth is I can’t even remember what I said because my three-year-old put words to the longing of my heart, the truth we experience in our crumble-encrusted, pajama-wearing, loud-singing Sunday mornings.
Can we have church in our house?
On earth as it is in heaven. Yes. Amen.
Shauna Niequist’s Blueberry Crumble
Like many of the recipes from this book, I have this one memorized. I stick to the recipe in the book with a few minor deviations. This is the easiest breakfast meal to pull together (or for any time of deal, really). The topping comes together in five minutes if you have all the ingredients, and the oven does the rest of the work. I usually double the topping because I like having a thick layer of crumble (the recipe below is for the doubled topping). Also, I pull it out halfway through the cooking time to stir the topping with a fork so that it all gets brown and crisp.
4 cups berries (I use whatever bag of frozen berries I have, sometimes only blueberries, sometimes a mix of blackberries and blueberries, raspberries and other frozen fruit of the red, blue and black variety)
2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped walnuts (Shauna’s original recipe is for pecans, but I prefer walnuts)
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp cardamom powder (totally optional – we love cardamom, so I put it into many oat-related recipes I use)
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
2. Pour fruit into a baking dish.
3. Stir together the topping ingredients until it’s well combined. Then spoon it over the berries.
4. Put it in the oven and set your timer for 20 minutes. When it rings, pull it out and “dig up” the topping with a fork so that all of it gets a chance to get brown and crispy. Put it back in for another 20 minutes or so (depending on your oven of course, so do pay attention). Total cooking time is anywhere from 35-45 minutes.
5. Eat and enjoy! I love mine with some Turkish yoghurt on the side.
What do you love to eat on Sunday mornings?