What sharing a Sabbath meal means…
I am pulling this post out of the archives, because I think it deserves to be told. A short account of our two Sabbaths in two different strange locations, and what it meant to us.
Five years ago, our family was on a work/road trip combined. We stayed in our RV while my husband worked, and so that gave us some time to do some traveling, camping, and sightseeing. I published this post back then, but decided to bring it back, because the lesson is a good one.
Recently, our family experienced some interesting contrasts, which we feel are important, and that we hope to learn from.
The first Sabbath, we and our friends went to a church in another city. We drove about an hour, so took food with us to contribute to a potluck. We had plans for the afternoon in the area, so did not plan to return home between church and the concert we were to attend. Church was nice, and, as visitors, we received a loaf of bread from a local bakery (“Raise your hand if it’s your first time here, and you’ll be given a loaf of bread”). That was very thoughtful.
When church was finished, we realized that this church did not have a Sabbath potluck, or fellowship meal, as they are more commonly called now. We realized, to our chagrin, that we had so assumed that we could join the potluck, that neither we nor our friends had brought anything to eat our food with (We did bring food to share). No plates or bowls, no utensils.
We discussed what we would do. We had brought a crock pot full of chili, some chips, and we did have that loaf of bread that the church gave us. Our friends had actually left without grabbing their food, and just had the bread. While our family got sidetracked trying to catch one of the speakers to ask her a question, our friends decided to go ahead and leave, since we had to find seats at the next venue.
Just us, Guys!
We sat there, wondering what would be our best move, and actually left the church without anyone saying anything to us. Kind of different. I had someone speak to me between Sabbath School and church, actually two people, but Mr. Friendly had no one say anything to him the whole time. That was very unusual for him! And one of the ladies who said hi to me told me that she would invite us over, but she did not have anything fixed. How many times have I thought that on a Sabbath? Many. Anyway, after church to have no one say hi makes you feel invisible, like you don’t matter.
We know a man, a friend now, who came to the church we now attend, before we began attending. He came and went with no one at all saying a word to him, and he never came back. He’s not uncommon, but is maybe more honest than some people who wouldn’t tell you their experience. But that’s all it takes for some people.
Back to the story
While we were still at this church, I sat down on a bench right outside the doorway, with two of the boys, in a little courtyard area, to wait for Mr. Friendly to come out (potty stop for a Little A). There were clumps of people surrounding us, chatting, and several people glanced our way, but no one spoke. We are not offended, we just felt a little funny.
We all walked out together to our truck, not yet sure of what we would do for lunch, but still feeling a little invisible as other folks walked to their cars alongside us, still quiet. It really made us think about our own church and our own observation skills towards visitors.
What did we do?
We contacted our friends, who had decided to stop by the roadside and eat with gratitude the one loaf of bread, shared between five people. They quoted the verse that says “Bread will be given him, his water shall be sure…” Thank the Lord for that one loaf of bread!
We followed suit and pulled off at a different location and thanked God for our feast–we ate chili fondue-style–that is, we ate our chili with chips instead of spoons, from the pot instead of bowls! It was unconventional, but it worked, and it was tasty.
I almost forgot–we also had cold scalloped potatoes that we shared too. And, as we looked in the glove compartment, we found a few plastic utensils, left over from a stop at Taco Bell some time. So, some of us were able to use one of those instead of just chip dippers. 🙂
Why do I mention this?
Is it because we felt sorry for ourselves? No, not really. We did end up with plenty to eat, and saw how God can help us turn lemons to lemonade if we are flexible.
I also mention it because I know that many of us, although we consider ourselves friendly, are really kind of unaware of others that we don’t know, and sometimes we like it that way.
How glad I am for a husband who notices new people, and makes it a point to go out of his way to speak to strangers. Because he always does that!
It just made us think.
Another Sabbath in another place
This past Sabbath, we were in a totally different situation. We had been traveling, and tent camping some of the time. On Friday afternoon, we pulled into a new campground, and barely had time to make a fire and set up the tent before Sabbath began.
This time, we had no food prepared, which wasn’t a big deal since we’d been eating cold food anyway pretty much every meal. Haystacks were the daily fare, and would be lunch today too. Except that we were out of beans. And chips. And olives. So, we had lettuce, plus plenty of assorted odds and ends that we could put together. But it wouldn’t be too normal.
I think we decided that cereal would be the best option, or try another church and our luck at a potluck. But I don’t really like to show up with nothing to share, and perhaps a few eyebrows would have raised over Toasted Oats at the potluck table. 😉
Day in Nature
As it turned out, when we woke up on Sabbath, everything outside had frozen, and so it felt way too cold for showers. We all needed one (badly), but could not endure a wet head in that freezing cold air. One look at ourselves, and we decided a day in nature would be a better option for us. You know that feeling you get when you camp–like everything gets all smoky-smelling, dirt creeps under fingernails and makes you look and feel grungy, hair seems to do its own thing, etc, etc. Plus, someone forgot to bring shoes besides snow boots, so getting “cleaned up” seemed like a hard undertaking.
We drove to a beautiful ocean setting. The drive was pleasant over rolling, hills that were so green that we were reminded of the Irish countryside. The green hills ended abruptly at the rocky shoreline, again, reminiscent of Ireland.
We had to hike down to get to the ocean level, then just really enjoyed our day climbing over the jagged rocks, the boys collecting seashells, and all of us drinking in the beauty of the crashing waves. We spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon at the ocean, and could have stayed all day except for the fact that our stomachs began to beg for attention (they always do).