Sunday, October 05, 2008

Dishing Up Dessert

A company meal is relaxed in our home. There are several reasons why.

Tonight the main dish of meat, potatoes and gravy huddles together in a deep skillet on the stove. A chilled vegetable medley has been placed on the kitchen counter near a small pitcher of rancho dressing. Later it’s time for dessert. Emerging from the refrigerator to share the counter top is a big bowl of fresh sliced peaches, a carton of thawed fluffy whipped cream and a plate of shortcakes.

I arrange one helping on a dessert plate and hand it across the table to my husband, Don. Then he announces another “rule” to our guests. Each person must get up and dish his or her own dessert. Seconds are allowed, too.

Most meals for company are done the same way. After giving thanks to the Lord for the day, the food, and friends who have come for a meal Don relates the rules.

Everyone smiles as he says, “#1. Help yourself because if you don’t you won’t get anything. #2. Your mother isn’t here so you don’t have to clear your plate. #3. If you don’t see it, ask for it.”

Many menus fit this scheme very well. Hawaiian haystacks and Mexican chalupe are both favorites since the ingredients can be lined up on the counter for each person to assemble their own dinner plate full.

It’s fun, nourishing, and it’s relaxed, just the way going to church should be.

A church service is a lot like a company meal. It’s organized, but not rigid. The preparation has been done, a variety of “food” has been set out, and those who come may help themselves. What appeals to Sister Brown may not be on Junior Jones’ diet this week. If you note something is missing, ask. Eat and enjoy.

There are Bible study classes with homework, probably a newbie class jumping with questions and searching for answers.

There’s music from the latest to the oldies, shared stories of how God answered prayer last week, even the announcements are sometimes “meaty.” The speaker of the day offers a challenge: Jesus wants to be your best friend.

The gathering of believers welcomes those searching for faith. There’s time for smiles and tears, solemnity and joy, challenge and comfort.

We should go to church ready to be fed. God’s Word has something you need and want, truth that will give life to the wounded heart and strengthen a weary soul.

We should go to church expecting a blessing. Look, listen. Follow along in your Bible. Jot down notes. Re-read them later, prayerfully.

How about you? What piques your curiosity, stirs your senses, appeals to your appetite? Go ahead, and try something new. The cooks are pleased to see a hungry person dig in and help themselves.

Dishing up dessert can be fun!

by Elaine Hardt ©2007