January 01, 2019

Joumou Soup

Romans 12:9-21

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

—  Romans 12:15

A fold-out table holds nearly all the ingredients for Haitian Joumou soup: cabbage, carrots, turnips, scotch bonnet peppers, and green or yellow squash that must be just the right fleshy orange on the inside to be pureed for the base of the soup. Haitians traditionally serve and eat this soup on New Year’s Day. It is a soup that represents freedom and in­dependence, and it is enjoyed by Haitians everywhere.

A few years ago I had the honor of eating this soup in Haiti on New Year’s Day. A group from across North America had landed in Haiti to help bring medical aid and supplies to several mountain communities during a cholera outbreak. We had also carried food with us so as not to be a burden to our hosts. As we entered the compound where we would be staying, the smell of Joumou soup filled the air. In the midst of painful circumstances there was still celebration. The local director reminded us that even on the toughest days God is good, and he is faithful. We were reminded that there are days for tears and days for laughter and thanksgiving. That New Year’s holiday was a day for celebration. What a fitting way to start a new year!

Are you celebrating God’s good­­­ness today?

Dear God, thank you for a new year in which we can be reminded to cele­brate together, even in the midst of hard times. Help us always to remember your faithfulness to us. Amen.

About the author — Beth Fellinger

Pastor Beth Fellinger is a wife, mother, and grandmother who has more than 40 years of experience in pastoral ministry. She and her husband, Barry, have created a missional community in their neighborhood called the Ugly Couch Cafe. From serving coffee at a blue picnic table on their front lawn, to praying with neighbors, to hosting faith gatherings on a weekly basis, the Ugly Couch Cafe has grown—and nothing gives Beth greater joy than introducing people to Jesus.

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