Monday, November 7, 2016

Sausage suppers

Sausage supper. It is that time of the year when church after church has their sausage supper. For those who are members of the church, it is a lot of work. For those who eat the supper, it is a joy. The question can be asked, why do them? Is it really necessary to do the sausage supper? For the congregational treasurer and finance board, the answer would be yes. It is vital to do the supper in order to supplement the income of the congregation in meeting its budget. For others, they might say that while it is nice to have the income, it is a lot of work and might not be worthwhile. These arguments can go back and forth with no conclusion.

As I look at the sausage suppers, I see them in a different way. Sausage suppers open the doors of a congregation to folks of the community. It brings people together. It helps people of the congregation work together. It gives people the opportunity to reconnect with folks they haven't seen in a while. It gives a good meal to folks. This is the one area that is often overlooked in the discussion of sausage suppers.

Yes, they bring in some finances to the congregation, But more than that, it brings people together and isn't that the purpose of the church, to bring people together? Now before you jump up and become upset with me and say, "The purpose of the congregation is to proclaim the Gospel!" I would ask that you hear me out. Yes, the overall purpose of the church is to proclaim Christ Jesus as the only Savior, the way to be saved. Without that message, the church is useless. It should be proclaiming that loudly in worship, Bible study, in all that it does. The Gospel is what makes the Christian church the Christian church. Christ Jesus is the Savior.

But not everyone is going to walk in the doors of the church on Sunday morning. I would love to have every Christian church filled to overflowing capacity on Sunday morning, week after week. We are called to share the love of Christ in many ways. Sausage suppers is one of those ways. Go to one and look around. Watch the people. Watch the relationships. Watch how people treat one another. As I sit and wait to be seated, I enjoy watching folks come, see someone they know, and start talking. Would that have happened normally? Probably not. Each family would go to the houses, hide away inside with their TV or Internet and not see the other. But sausage has brought them out of their cave for a short time.

And while they are out of their cave, they begin to interact with others, folks they haven't seen for a while. Watch all the smiles, the hugs, the kind words. You begin to realize more than eating sausage takes place at the suppers. Relationships are built, renewed, refreshed. I went to Bethlehem, Ferrin yesterday and spent more time talking and visiting than eating. Yes, the sausage is probably the best sausage ever served but that isn't why I am there. I am there to see folks. To talk, to catch up, to share in their lives and to share my life. The Sausage supper made it possible for me to see and talk with folks that I haven't seen for the past year. How many times does that play out at sausage suppers at Worden, Holy Cross, Collinsville, or Trinity, Edwardsville? How often is the supper more than a meal? It is friends and neighbors joining together once again for a short time.

As they join together, the love of Christ can be seen as it is shared in the smile or the kind word. The love of Christ is seen when folks sit down together and talk while they are waiting for their number to be called. How often is the love of Christ seen as folks work together to make the dinner possible, cooking sausage or green beans, cutting pies, clearing tables, or giving drinks? Christ is in those places as the relationships are renewed and strengthened.

Yes, sausage suppers are great. Good food, good friends, good visiting, good time - they are worth all the effort. Thanks to all the folks at the different churches who put on their supper. See you next time!

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