We have been so blessed to be around so many amazing, encouraging people this week. If you want more information about the Lake James School of Missions, check out the site and bring your family next year.
There have been some moments that have really stuck out to me the last couple of days. First of all, Hannah apparently has an incredible grasp on the general providence of God. She unbuckled her seat belt a bit early before the van was stopped, and my dad and I were joking with her about the things that could happen in that time that would require a seat belt (out of control train, bus, etc.) I then said that the moon might fall out of the sky onto the van, and if that happens she will definitely want a seat belt on. Hannah emphatically stated that "Jesus put the moon up there and he makes it stay up there!" (Check out Gen 1:16, Psalm 8:3, John 1:1-5)
This week I have been brought to a greater appreciation for missionaries by a very simple, powerful reminder. I often take the strong faith of my wife for granted as I have only ever known her as a believer. Yet this faith did not come until college, and it was nurtured immediately in powerful ways that has set her on the path she continues on through today. While one may not think of it, I see the university setting as a definite mission field, often a foreign one in multiple ways, and those who strive to connect with students in such a setting as missionaries. Jessica views her faith as a direct product of missions as well. Thank you to Mark Pike and all who serve at the Campus House at Ball State University for your faithful service which has impacted Jessica and myself so personally, and thank you to all the other missionaries who have offered hope, and salvation, and amazing spouses by the sharing of the Gospel.
Finally, I have been piecing through Luke recently, and I have noticed that there is a lot of eating in this Gospel. Jesus gets in trouble for eating with sinners (ch 5); he gets in trouble for eating on the Sabbath (ch 6); Jesus points out that because John the Baptist came neither eating or drinking and yet Jesus came and did both that they both got in trouble (ch 7); Jesus gets in trouble for a woman washing his feet while he ate (also ch 7); Jesus encourages the disciples to eat what is offered them when he sends them out (ch 10); then he is invited to eat with a Pharisee, gets scolded for not washing up, and has a few things to say about it (ch 11). I only oversimplify this all to say that there is a lot of eating so far in Luke, and I guess Jesus gets into trouble a lot.
Tonight we had the annual Thursday night missionary banquet which always involves a decorated room, extra people coming to camp, personally served drinks and food, extra delicious food, and entertainment. Tonight it occurred to me that Spock from Star Trek, with his infallible logic, would note that the real purpose of eating is to recharge our bodies. This makes eating in such an extravagantly-planned social setting entirely unnecessary and makes potatoes covered in sour cream, butter, and who knows what other wonderful things highly illogical. Ignoring this second point, why do we make meal time such an important, social thing. Why is a banquet the high point of this week? Why is it that food can be a catalyst for great conversation and that kids who eat around the table every night are generally more stable and successful. I could probably try to analyze it, but instead I will take it as a given and offer two thoughts. I think that every culture generally views meals as an important social setting, and I, personally, appreciate that the French love congregating at their table. So while you should DEFINITELY invite that friend from work to church, do not forget to invite them to your table as well. I cannot fathom how many people have met Jesus at a table topped with food and surrounded by evangelists. Secondly, it seems to be no small thing that Jesus invites us around a table every week to commune with him in a symbolic way and remember what he means to us. I hope you will have this strange wonderfulness of the relationship between food, the development of relationships, and the ministry of Jesus in mind as you find yourself around Christ's table this weekend in a church.
Blessings to you,