Published in the Rains County Leader on January 28, 2020:
Going to church on Sunday mornings is one of the best things I do all week, at least once I get past getting up a little earlier than usual and getting out the door looking a little more presentable than usual. It’s like a big family reunion every week. Almost everybody is happy and has a big smile and a warm hug – and the ones who don’t are an opportunity to share heartaches and encourage one another. It’s the perfect place to learn more about God and the Bible and to ask that hard question that you didn’t want to ask anywhere else because it might turn out to be a dumb question. And sometimes, after the teaching and the preaching and the singing and the praying, it’s a great place for lunch.
Sunday was one of those times. It seems like most churches look for any excuse to share a meal, and ours is no exception. Our pastors and elders are always looking for ways to encourage fellowship among the church members, so we have some kind of social event several times a year. This one was a soup and dessert lunch – all you can eat, of course – and a fund raiser. The details aren’t important, but there was a need, so members were asked to consider donating what they would normally spend on lunch. Based on the amount collected, a lot of the members eat better than David and I do!
If you’re driving by Believers’ Baptist around 9:00 am on a Sunday morning, it’s easy to tell when we’re having a potluck. Everyone stops at the door to the Fellowship Hall instead dropping passengers at the front door or going straight to the parking lot. A tempting array of steaming slow cookers and foil-covered desserts are carried into the kitchen, electric cords soon sprout from power strips, and counter space becomes scarce. Mouth-watering aromas drift through the building, and an extra measure of excitement colors our worship and praise.
This week at the end of the service, there was no mad rush to the Fellowship Hall. No football game waited at home, and one of our children and his family had shared that he had accepted Jesus this week. We lingered to hug and congratulate him and then slowly drifted down the hall where we were faced with too many choices! There were at least twenty soups and stews and almost as many desserts. The variety of slow cookers was also amazing. Some, like mine, were the original Crockpots, and some were the new multi-function cookers that look like something out of a science fiction movie. But they all held something good to eat.
The room that had been relatively empty earlier was now filled with movement and lively chatter and laughter, both at the tables and in the serving lines. Some people scouted the options before settling on a big bowl of their favorite while others took a small serving of something that looked interesting, intending to come back later and sample something else. I took the second approach and started with some split pea soup, a favorite that I don’t fix very often. I found a seat fairly close to David and across the table from one of our Kindergarten AWANA students. I hesitate to say a favorite student because, like your own children, we love them all, but she and I have developed a special bond. She was working on a bowl of tortellini soup, and we chatted while I settled into my spot. When I began to eat, she looked at me in horror.
“What are you eating?” she asked.
“Split pea soup,” I responded.
“Well,” she said, “It looks like snot!”
Her mother was horrified, but I tried to reassure her. “It’s okay. It is a little strange looking, but it sure is good.”
I love my church family. They are a joy and a constant source of encouragement and support not to mention a never-ending supply of stories to share.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts. Acts 2:46