May 2021

Heritage

There is something special about dinner after church on Sundays. I know most people call dinner “lunch”, and supper “dinner”, but I grew up in the South, so the midday meal was always dinner. When I was a girl, we had Sunday Dinner at my Nanny’s house, along with all my aunts, uncles and cousins. Talk about feeding an army.

Nanny was a cook who dearly loved putting on a spread. Most every week, come Sunday morning, she’d cut up a fryer (that’s a chicken) or two and soak the pieces in milk. She’d prepare the black eyed peas and lima beans, fortified with bacon fat. She’d peel, cut and boil potatoes that would be mashed later on. She’d make macaroni and cheese (from scratch, of course). She’d have bread rolls topped with butter. And, there would be her special home-made gravy. I don’t actually know how early she had to start, because she also dressed in her best church-going clothes and was one of the first to arrive for service.

After the post-service meeting and greeting, she and granddaddy would hustle back home to get the table laid. To this day, I don’t know how she managed to have hot fried chicken, with all the sides, and hot bread out of the oven before we arrived. But she did, and I don’t recall even the glisten of perspiration on her brow. Her’s was a unique generation: hard working, generous, a seemingly endless supply of stamina, and the fortitude of those who endured the Great Depression.

I find myself walking down this broad lane of memories today because we had one of my nieces and her family out to the house for dinner after church today. We stopped on the way home and got a box of fried chicken with biscuits and fries and a jug of sweet tea from a local fast-food joint. We ate on paper plates with plastic forks. As you will surmise, I am not cut from quite the same cloth as my Nanny.

But the heritage of hospitality is still mine. Our fellowship today with my niece, her sweet husband and three delightful children was filled with love and laughter. From one generation to the next, we move and adjust to become relevant to the present, and we live today standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. We remember them and hope we live and die as well as they did.

“Look to the rock from which you were hewn.” (Isaiah 51:1 ESV) We do not live in the past, but we need to know from whence we came. Who was the Lord to our forebears, and how did He deal with them? Can we see His character revealed and His redemption unfolding? The situations and contexts of humankind may be vastly different from generation to generation, but the Lord Almighty changes not. He is our one invariable. He is the only One with whom there is no shadow of turning. (James 1:17 NKJV)

Dear reader, I pray that you know the security, the comfort, the stabilizing force of the unchanging, unfailing love of God. He changes not. When all around your soul gives way, He then is all your hope and stay. Whatever you are facing, look unto Him from whence you came and find your feet safely planted on a firm foundation. Take some time this week to ponder your heritage and know that “thus far the Lord has helped you.” (1 Samuel 7:12 NKJV)

Until next week, fellow pilgrim, continue faithfully in His faithfulness.

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