Dear First Pres,

  When I hear the word “potluck”, my mouth starts to water, my belly gets hungry, and I can't help but put on a wide smile. The best thing about a potluck is that I get to experience first-hand the hidden gifts of some of the amazing cooks of our congregation. I don't know if it's the extra pinch of salt or the sprigs of parsley in the potato salad that make it so good. Or could it be the extra ounce of butter on those mashed potatoes? Maybe, in the end, it is simply a gift to be shared with others that makes everything taste so good.

  For me, church potlucks also offer something even broader than my stomach--contentment of my soul. When I sit across from another person, I am not talking to a mere mortal. As C.S. Lewis reminds us in The Weight of Glory, “It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry…our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously.”

  Everybody eats. When we eat with other people, the opportunity is available for us to tell stories, tell jokes and laugh, or we share hurts and shoulder one another burdens. There is an opportunity for our hearts to go to a deeper place because we partake in a meal together.

  When I look across the table, I'm looking at the handiwork of God. I'm connecting with someone made in His image. I'm listening for the way Jesus inside them is going to minister to my broken soul, or seeking the way God will love them through me.

  After second service this Sunday, we have an opportunity, a potluck to be experienced together. The tri-tip will be amazing, and the cuisine will out-rank the buffet in any restaurant! But trust me, I will be going to get my stomach and soul filled by eating with the body of Christ. How about you?