“If I come to Potluck Church, what should I bring?”
It takes tons of courage to enter a space full of people and do something you’ve never done before. Believe introverted me, I get that. But please, please don’t let the selection or preparation of a dish stop you from worshiping around our table. You are welcome, and your presence would be a blessing to us all. We have a seat ready for you. Bring what you may; there will be plenty of food.
Still hesitant? OK, how about some grapes? Or cut up some carrots and celery? Did you overbuy on fresh veggies last week? Make a soup, and offer it. Have you been wanting to make your grandmother’s dumpling recipe, but there aren’t enough in your house to help you eat them? Offer them—we’ll help eat them! Did your menu plan just call for half a cabbage, and now you don’t know what to do with the rest? Make slaw! Your chickens haven’t stopped laying because of this crazy weather? Quiche would be perfect! Been hankering for your favorite food from a local restaurant or market? Pick it up. Or grab a steam-able bag of frozen veggies and pop it in the microwave when you arrive. There will be plenty of time.
Of course, cookies are never, ever a bad choice.
Bottom line: Don’t let dish anxiety keep you from taking your seat at the Lord’s table and offering what you will. It’ll be fine. Really. You and your dish are enough.
We believe that Christ meets us at the table--not just this table here; but at restaurant tables, at fellowship hall tables, at boardroom tables and at our kitchen tables. We believe that we can call upon Christ to transform our lives, our relationships, our world. And through our spiritual communion, we may experience real change.
After pouring out his heart to God, one sleepless, stressful, fearful night, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. experienced that sort of change at his own kitchen table. In his sermon from August 1967, “Why Jesus Called a Man a Fool,” he described feeling Jesus speak words of encouragement to “stand up for righteousness, stand up for justice, stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you, even until the end of the world.” What Dr. King described as a quiet assurance came over him, and because of that moment he found the courage to continue his mission.
Let us all approach this table with our own honest prayers, inviting Christ to show up once again in our lives, at our tables, and bring about divine change among us and within us.
(King, Jr., Martin Luther. “Why Jesus Called a Man a Fool.” Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church, 8/27/67, Chicago, Ill. 27 Aug. 1967. Web. 16 Jan. 2017)
In the first years that I served a church, my husband and I invited minister colleagues who were young adults to come to our home to celebrate Epiphany on January 6. Initially for us clergy it was a celebration of the relief that the busyness of Advent and Christmas was coming to an end. But over the years as we learned more about the celebration of Epiphany, I grew to find it deeply meaningful.
Each year at our Potluck Church worship closest to Epiphany the wise men adorn the table and the new Christ candle that previously adorned the advent wreath is lit alone. After we’ve finished our plates of food, we serve a decorated cake that has a miniature plastic baby Jesus buried inside, and as we cut it, we laugh about what it might mean if we get the piece with Jesus--good luck or prosperity? Cake-maker for next year? Candlemas party planner? King or queen for the night? Or maybe you just need more Jesus in your life? It’s a fun tradition made all the more special as we eat together in worship.
This year none of us found the plastic Jesus, and so we delivered the treasured piece to a Potluck Church friend who was sick. Hopefully, she felt a bit closer to Jesus and to us as she enjoyed it.
This is one of the regular questions I am asked about Potluck Church. I usually respond with something like, “And why is that bad—a whole table of dessert for supper? Sounds like a dream to me.”
One night in late summer over half of the group brought squash casseroles. It had been a bumper crop for yellow squash in our area, and so many of us had more than our households could eat. Our meal was symbolic of the abundance in our lives. Each squash casserole was different—a crispy stuffing-mix topping, the addition of fresh herbs, or baked with rice or cracker crumbs. They were all very tasty, and we laughed as we compared the variety of options. I dare say, I may never attend another Squash Casserole Tasting in my life again. Then again, there is always next August. One can only hope.
written by Rachel
Set a table, invite Christ and others, leave an empty chair, serve up some powerful questions, and break bread.