“I love potlucks. Everyone brings their best.”
She smiled at her floral patterned plate. Fried chicken, cucumber salad, ambrosia, blueberry crumble, and some amazing pickle, ham, cream cheese concoction had us all searching for the humble chefs. The pandemic tried to make potlucks a thing of the past, but (Praise the Lord!) it wasn’t successful.
Keisha had been the careful planner. No corner or heart went untouched by her love. Talented Ron tended the guitar, and we praised the Creator.
Everyone brings their best.
I took a big gulp of tea. I was to be the guest speaker at the Hancock Christian Church Women’s Conference. Had I brought my best? Maybe I should’ve volunteered to bring mac and cheese, instead.
I’ve been camping in an Old Testament for years now, and while the theme of the afternoon was “In the Garden,” I had decided to take the beautiful women of this congregation with me. To the dirt. To the scandal. To the unexpected Book of Hosea.
I’m rooted here, often, with Hosea and Gomer, and their broken and bandaged story that is a metaphor for Israel’s relationship with God. The verses and Hosea’s virtue are etched into my soul’s memory forever. Something about how unredeemable Gomer seems, how she’s been deceptively convinced her adulterous lovers are the ones who provided for her, and (spoiler alert) how she’s restored in faithfulness, in true love.
For a moment that day, and for countless other times in my life, I was Gomer. I had been deceptively convinced that the success of this event depended upon me. That it was up to me, my preparation, or my dedication to determine the outcome of this and all the other circumstances and situations of my life.
The music ended. I stepped up in front of the room full of women. With one whispered prayer, I felt His peace in the energized room.
Then I knew.
The best I can ever bring is Jesus.
The best any of us can ever offer is Jesus. His truth, His love, His faithfulness.
And ya know, I think this calls for more celebrations. Let’s gather together again for more fellowship, praise, and worship. Let’s potluck, and everyone bring their best. Bring Jesus (and a dessert!).