Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 64, May 16, 2020
“A Super Supper”

Greetings on what promises to be a gorgeous New England Saturday. The Eberlys have had an early morning run down by the water, the surfers are already paddling to their places among the waves, the clouds are clearing, and all systems are go for great day. Today is the perfect day for a church supper. Bummer! Even though all systems are go for having a great day, we do not have the official go-ahead to gather together. No problem. I am inviting you to a “virtual” church supper. I am inviting you right now to join me at a church supper, a virtual church supper.

I love church suppers. We come together. We talk. We laugh. We line up. We fill our plates. We sit side by side. We break bread. We celebrate being a community of faith. I love church suppers, and I miss church suppers. Won’t you join me for a church supper on this beautiful Saturday in May.

Where will we find the food for this “virtual” church supper. Well, since this virtual supper is a church supper, I thought we might use our imagination and create our menu from the bible. It turns out the bible is not a bad place to turn when you are planning a church supper. Go figure! I mean, the bible begins in a garden. Walk through the biblical Garden of Eden and you can forage for the leafiest lettuce, the most remarkable radishes, the crispiest cucumbers, and tomatoes that are terrific. What better way to start our virtual church supper than with salad from the Garden?

• The salad would be followed with soup. I heard this guy named Jacob makes a mean lentil soup.

• The bread would be abundant at our church supper. We have leavened and unleavened bread, manna from heaven, and big barley loaves to boot.

• King David would make a guest appearance at our church supper. There is a wonderful story in II Samuel chapter 6, when the Ark of the Covenant has been rescued from the Philistines and returned to Jerusalem. It is that story where David dances before the Lord with all his heart. To celebrate that great moment in the life of Israel, David the King provides a treat for all the people. King David “gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd.” That sounds yummy. David, welcome to our church supper. Thanks for bringing us all a cake of dates and a cake of raisins.

• When you show up for a church supper served up from the pages of the bible, you better bring an appetite of biblical proportions. Go big or go home! You know there will be goat, lamb, beef, and fish to feed five thousand.

• Not a meat eater? Not to worry! This fellow named Daniel, along with his buddies Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they have a table of vegetable set aside just for you, and their steady vegetarian diet has not diminished their vim or vigor one bit.

• Isaiah the prophet will come by during the dinner with a beverage cart, inviting everyone who is thirsty to come, come to the waters, come for wine, come for milk…and don’t even worry about paying for it. It’s all been provided by our gracious host, our God in heaven.

What do you think of this “virtual” church supper? You feast at this table and you are guaranteed to have your hunger satisfied and your thirst quenched. But for all the wonderful produce you can harvest from the Garden of Eden, for all the bread you can literally pick up from the desert floor, for all the baskets of fish left from those miraculous waterfront picnics, and for all the feasts with fattened calves, the one section of a biblical church supper that seems lacking is dessert. Yes, Samson has his honey and David his cakes of raisins and dates, but there is no mention in the bible of brownies, no chocolate chip cookies, no apple pie (Adam and Eve sort of made that off-limits), and for all the spiritual imagery in the Good Book there is not one mention of an Angel Food Cake or a Devil’s Food Cake. Where is the dessert?

It seems that in terms of dessert, our real-life church suppers might actually “take the cake” so to speak. When we have finished our feast, when we have pushed aside the chicken bones and the last bits of a Waldorf Salad, when only a crust of bread remains uneaten, we know at any church supper worth its weight, the best is yet to come. We still have dessert to look forward to. How can the bible not have dessert?

During our Coronavirus Crisis, a friend sent me a little story that might be familiar to you. The story has to do with desserts and church suppers. It is a story that reminds us that even though the bible might not feature much in the way of a literal dessert, the treat that we all look forward to at the end of our lives is downright delicious. Our little church supper draws to a close with these words:

There was a woman who was a faithful churchgoer. She had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She invited her pastor to come visit so she could go over her last wishes with him, things like the hymns she wanted sung and the scriptures she wanted read, even the dress she wanted to wear when she was placed in the casket. Her plans were so exact she told her pastor she wanted to be buried with her favorite bible in her left hand. And in her right hand she wanted a fork. Well, the pastor listened to all her instructions, and he was okay with everything she had planned, right down to the bible in her left hand. But the fork? When she said she wanted a fork in her right hand the pastor was speechless, until she explained. “You see, Pastor, in all my years of attending church suppers, I remember that when the dishes were being cleared from the table, someone would inevitably lean over to me and say, “Keep you fork.” I loved hearing someone say, “Keep your fork”, because I knew something better was coming, something like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something very wonderful was coming. Pastor, when I am buried and people see me in the casket, I want people to see me with a fork in my hand. And if they ask you, “Why does she have a fork in her hand?” I want you to tell them, “Keep your fork, the best is yet to come.” Thanks for joining me for this “virtual” church supper. I hope you enjoyed our brief repast. Even though our “virtual” church supper is coming to an end, I want you to hold on to something. I want you to take something with you. I think you know what it is, don’t you? I want you to hold on to your fork. I want you to keep your fork because there is no question and there is no doubt, that the best is yet to come.

With the love of Christ,