Lark of the Covenant

April 6, 2022

Last Thursday, Steve and I had a delightful dinner with Patrick and Ashlyn at Lark, a super-elegant new restaurant in Bala Cynwyd. Lark’s owner/chef, Nick Elmi, is a Top Chef winner and James Beard Award finalist; his eatery is the real deal. We enjoyed an incredible spread that included (among other dishes) braised escargots, broiled octopus, mushroom and foie gras ravioli, and Basque cheesecake for dessert. 

The best part? Dinner was free!

 Well, not exactly, but we basically paid zero out of pocket. I’ve been writing essays for a food website this past year, and decided to write one based on a Patrick salad creation. I shared about Pat’s youth (a sports guy who rarely showed interest in cooking, he eventually became a fabulous chef in several restaurants.) Since the recipe was supplied by my son, it was only fair that he get half the fee for the article. In typical fashion, though, he wouldn’t accept the money. After a few back-and-forths, we decided to spend the check together on a special meal. 


The only thing not covered was the tip, and Patrick insisted on reimbursing me via Venmo. When I received the transfer, I noticed that he’d written as a note “Lark of the Covenant.” At last!!!! All those years of religious education paid off!!! Pat was making a clever reference to “Ark of the Covenant”, the chest housing the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments.. As my Bible Study group is currently immersed in the Old Testament, I’ve had a refresher course on the Ark, from Moses through David and beyond.


I was one proud mom, and texted him to that effect. As pride inevitably goeth before a fall, I soon discovered that my child’s familiarity was mostly based, not on church learning, but on Indiana Jones (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)! Oops! 


It did get me thinking about knowledge acquisition in general, and Scripture smarts in particular. I have spent a lot of time over the years selecting the best children’s Bibles, and Sunday School and VBS curriculum for the little ones at Christ’s Lutheran. Yet come Confirmation class (6th-9th grades), they still tend to look blankly at me when asked even some basic info. How could it be that this stuff doesn’t stick?


I’ve learned to manage my expectations, and nowadays I focus on the core message of the Bible: we have a God who loves us beyond all telling, and who just asks that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Further details (what does “prodigal” mean? How long did the Israelites wander? Who betrayed Jesus?), though important, are really icing on the spiritual cake. And if the kiddos accidentally learn some Scripture through pop culture, does it really matter? 


So it’s down from the high horse for me. Patrick, and the rest of my brood, are wonderful, loving and giving people. They may never win at Bible Jeopardy, but honestly? I believe they’re just fine with the Lord.


    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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