Nutrition for the Soul
Jack Dodd was a dedicated follower of Christ and member of a church I served early in my ministry. Jack was a sailor for Uncle Sam, built dams around the world, and had a lifetime of accomplishments well into his very busy retirement. One day, he drove me around his purple hull pea crops in his “farm golf cart.” As we bounced along, he shared with me his understanding of the church (particularly worship) as a lifelong layman in the Methodist tradition. “You know, preacher, I can’t recall every meal Ann (his wife) has made for me. There are a few meals I remember being particularly good and some things I ask for because I really like them. Early on, there were a few extra crispy meals I pretended were creole blackened but were really burnt and some which may have been bland. But you know what, I am a well fed fella and, as you can see, I have not wanted for a meal (rubbing his belly). We come to church to have our souls fed. We may not remember every sermon, but you keep putting a good meal on the table. When you don’t have the best day of it, don’t worry, we’ll pretend it is creole blackened and not think much of it as long as you work on the recipe before you serve it again. You’re a good cook and we are getting fed, don’t let one bad meal throw you.“
He was wisely offering council and a pick me up after a sermon and worship service he knew didn’t go like I hoped it would. He certainly lifted me up that day and did I need it! Well past that day, the metaphor he used has stuck with me over the years. One of our primary missions as the church is to provide soul food. Our ministry teams, nursery workers, volunteers, and worship staff diligently work to put on a soul feast every week in worship. We provide unique types of “nutrition” for folks at various stages of spiritual growth. Disciple Bible Study, for instance, is some serious meat and potatoes eating, while Bible 101 is great for someone just starting off learning about the Bible. Sometimes people need special soul food during personal times of tragedy or loss and other times the church can look like a party cake as we celebrate new believers and confirmands.
I hope the metaphor connects with you. So on behalf of all the “cooks and servers” at Wesley, bon appétit as we begin the fall. We have great meals planned for you!