6.17.2005

I received an email from Sue responding to my last blog. She directed me to her church's blog site where she had posted an essay she shared with her congregation on Pentecost Sunday of this year. She mentions a few things some readers won't recognize, like the Goatwalker Cafe (I think it's called), but you can get the gest of what she's saying. I found it powerful and moving and I think she should give more of her time to reflection and writing. Enjoy.

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Several years ago there was a popular essay called, “Everything I Need to Know about Life I Learned In Kindergarten.” My own version of that essay for this Pentecost Sunday would be entitled, “Everything I need to know about the church, I learned as the daughter of the chair of the Bereavement Meal Committee”. The first essay mentioned had lots of little points like, “hold hands” and “take naps”. My essay has multiple references to……well, … ham.

Just as a brief overview, the Bereavement Meal is a meal served by a group of the folks from the church whenever anyone from the church loses a loved one or when someone from the church passes. There’s never any question about if there are enough folks to pull it together or if anyone will head it up. It’s a well oiled machine, and the only question is whether you want your meal at the church served by the committee or brought to the house.

As a child, I did my share of helping schlep hams back and forth from Kroger to be baked and back to be sliced and then on to the church. As a teen, I rolled my eyes when I discovered that the church actually had bereavement hams as a line item in the church budget. As a young adult, I thought it a sappy tradition. But the older I get, the more I realize that in fact, this IS “church”. I’ve come to see something almost sacramental in the baking of the ham and the passing of the corn pudding and the washing of the dishes. I am a witness to the concrete presence of Christ. And I see there a long and abiding faithfulness to be present with folks.

I was not raised in a church where folks said, “If I can do anything, give me a call.” Folks call and say, “What day this week can I cut your grass?” Dinners show up. When someone you love is in surgery or you are waiting to hear news, folks just show up and sit there beside you.

I have seen the very hands and feet of Christ in the small enduring acts of faithfulness of people committed to walking along side of each other.

I don’t know if the theology I was taught there was good or bad. I can’t tell you a specific Sunday School lesson I ever heard there. But I can tell you that my 6th grade Sunday School teacher Mrs. Martin remembered my birthday until I was into my 20’s. I cannot think of a sacred moment in my life that someone from that church has not been present in some way with me or with my family.

When my children are in their 40’s, I hope that they too will recite a litany of steady acts of faithfulness that fleshed out to them the ministry of Jesus among them, and that they will see their own hands as a part of that body. I hope that in the baking of Goatwalker brownies month after month, of gathering bulletins after church for recycling, writing letters to Chuck, in carrying meals to someone who needs them they will see those as moments when they had the opportunity to “be church”, not just attend it. And when my soul slips to glory and the ham is passed, I hope they will say, “THIS is Church”.

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By Sue, who is very nearly perfect

3 Comments:

At 2:56 PM, Blogger jay v. said...

I would agree that she is close to sanctification. Thanks for sharing this.

 
At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Aaron J. said...

Not sure how else to get in touch with you so here goes:

My friend and I, both Covenanters, have put together this site as a way to collate all the rss feeds of people in the Covenant who have blogs. We were wondering if we could add your feed to the site. The hope is that people will come to www.covenantblogs.net as a way to get a snapshot of what people across the Covenant are writing/thinking/living. If they find the first few sentences of a post interesting they can click the link and be taken directly to your blog. Please check out the site and let us know (aefj00(at)gmail(dot)com) if we can add your feed, or if you have any questions. However, know that it is in the early stages and definitely a work in progress, but ready enough to add some feeds. Thanks. Aaron J.

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger stacey said...

Aaron,

Not sure how do reach you, either... hmm, I hope you check this comment; but yes, feel free to include me in the Covenant blog site. Thanks!

 

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