How do all the myriad things that happen in our busy church community come to pass? Each year about this time, I find myself in wonder and amazement as we approach the most active part of the church season. Worship services. Choir performances. Adult education classes. Children’s education classes. Retreats. Small group ministries. Outreach offerings. Justice work. Communication, both electronic and in-person. Stewardship. Shared meals…
Let’s stop there. Shared meals offer a perfect metaphor to answer the question “How do things get done around here?” Each month, we break bread together after the worship service on the third Sunday of the month. Potluck meals are a staple of church life—but I encourage you also to think of them as representative of church life. They happen, consistently—against all odds and all common sense—because many different people share their gifts for the common good. Everyone prepares just one dish—but they prepare more than they, themselves, would eat. They bring that food, which is then put on tables with offerings from others, and—voila!—a feast.
I mentioned tables. Some folks set up tables and chairs. Someone arranges the entrees, salads and desserts in a sensible order on the tables and sideboards. Someone else fills pitchers with ice and water. Someone else makes coffee and tea. Another puts out enough plates and silverware for everyone. (Remember, too, that these tables and chairs, these plates and silverware, the kitchen from which food is served, and the Great Hall into which it is served, came from somewhere as well—the financial and volunteer generosity of church members themselves).
When the meal is over, a few folks gather in the kitchen to wash dishes. Others wipe down the tables, and return them to their storage place. There is noisy activity as all the chairs are folded and put away. Napkins and tablecloths are gathered and taken away to homes, to be washed and returned the following week. A lunch—a simple, potluck lunch—is, when you reflect on it, a massive undertaking. It is a group effort. And it works only because many pitch in.
This is true of everything that happens, in our Heritage Church community. As we enter the “busy season” at church, I hope that each of you will consider ways in which you can contribute not only to the success of our shared meals, but to the success of all the endeavors we undertake. Scan this newsletter, or our church calendar, and find events or activities that sound interesting to you—then bring your gifts to help make it happen.
See you at church!