March 14, 2007

Potluck Witness

2007 1508 page23 cape welcome our newest blogger to the Adventist Review. We think you will appreciate Glenda-mae Greene’s warm style. Her contribution completes the trilogy of bloggers who will share with us during 2007.—Editors.

Unexpected Witness, Sabbath, February 10, 2007

 After church, 20 of us settled in various spaces in the house—the “kids” on the screened porch, the adults in the kitchen or in the family room, and Raschelle’s little boys snuggled on a guest room bed.
We were as diverse as sociology textbooks could describe it. Two things bonded us together—a Caribbean background and the Adventist tradition. But the similarities ended there.
Then it was time to put the food on the table. We’d decided on haystacks—the easiest meal we could think of. I thought every Adventist would recognize the word haystacks, but three of the young ladies and several of the boys had never heard of it. I realized then that it was a ritual only on the Adventist school menu.
Two hours later, I realized that the study of Ecclesiastes never took place. Was there no other purpose in our gathering? Just the sharing of bread that brought the eaters together? Was that all?
Sunday, February 11, 2007
 No, that wasn’t all. This evening as Mom came home from her walk, our next-door neighbor greeted her with a smile.
“So you had a party yesterday.”
“Not really,” replied my mom. “My daughter teaches what you’d call Sunday school, but we Seventh-day Adventists call it Sabbath school.”
“Never heard of Adventists.” Our neighbor wanted to know more. Perhaps that unexpected witness was the purpose of our gathering.

Family Reunion, Sabbath, February 17, 2007

My cousin and her husband came to visit us this weekend. I haven’t seen Audre and Carl for 13 years. It was exciting reconnecting with them, rejoicing in the silver hairs that marked the passage of time, and the stories that came with them. We heard about their elder daughter’s family—the marriage, their ministry, and their young son. We heard about the school they had built. But nothing touched us as much as the sundown worship we shared.
Carl’s mellow baritone voice and Audre’s graceful tinkling of the ivories moved us to sing hymn after hymn, basking in the warmth of family togetherness. This is what worship is about, I thought. A time when we, all of one mind, can praise God. A time when music and man meet the God of the universe.
We all chose at least one song, repeated at least one text, said at least one thing we were thankful for, and breathed at least one phrase of thankfulness to the Lord of the Sabbath. We were all blessed. Then some of the rituals Audre and I had shared when we were young came back into focus. Some 40 years ago this experience would have seemed outrageously lengthy, but not this time.
So what made the difference? Maturity, perhaps. But it was more than that. It was a defining moment for me. I had finally begun to think about the words of the hymns we were singing, and the meaning of the texts I was sharing. I was beginning to come to grips with the logistics of the family of God. It was more than Red and Yellow, Black and White. It was more than old and young, liberal and conservative. It was an inexplicable sense that we are joined with people who have one goal in mind—going to heaven. I found myself yearning to do the things that would bring us closer together, both now and for eternity.

Glenda-mae Greene, a fourth-generation Adventist, spent 30 years in teaching and administration before she had to take early retirement. She enjoys writing, reading, mentoring, counseling, and bird watching. She writes from Palm Bay, Florida.