It started out as a joke! I said it on the first Sunday of the Lenten sermon series. An offhand, perhaps ill-considered remark, or challenge: “I’ll take out to dinner anyone and everyone who comes to church for all the Sundays of Lent.”
After service that day, I wasn’t really worried; I figured, “we’re not really in an era where there are too many “every Sunday Christians! How many could we possibly be talking?”
But as the weeks went on, and each Sunday, I asked worshipers who were still in the running to raise their hands, I was surprised by how many hands went up. I was both proud of how many people were committed to attending church every Sunday in Lent (a couple of weeks in and we were still right below 80; at the halfway point, we were still over 40!). I was also beginning to wonder how much this offer was going to cost me!
Only in the last couple of weeks of Lent — with the help of those late March winter storms — an act of God favoring the pastor’s financial future? — did the numbers start to fall. Even after I offered attendance at the evening services on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday as a “make-up” for a missed Lenten Sunday, there were 21 6-for-6ers by the time we got to Holy Week.
Now I want to make good on my dinner offer. Brian B. and I are going to cook a “soul food dinner” on Friday night, June 1. We’ll serve the meal family style at 7 pm.
The menu will include fried chicken and fried whiting, macaroni and cheese, collards, yams and either biscuits or cornbread. Since we’ll be in the Social Hall, there will be no ‘adult beverages.” But I’ll come up with something sort of fun to drink — maybe sweet rosehip tea and ginger beer.
No need to RSVP. There will be enough food for everyone. And probably food for leftovers to take home.
It’s my way of saying THANKS for your attendance, attention and participation. If you remember the Lenten sermon series: being here for each other is part of our covenant with each other and with God.