Hymn: “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship” – George Atkins
Tune: HOLY MANNA
This is not exactly déjà vu, but I AM picking up with the same idea we dealt with yesterday – partly because I thought of another angle on the concept, and I’ve reflected on it several times today when dealing with those in the service industry…even at the drive-through at Taco Casa!
That ‘picture this’ of Jesus scurrying about between the tables when you’d think he should be in the place of honor… or at least sitting down with the rest of us to enjoy the meal… brought me back to a choir tour memory from several years ago with ‘my kids’ when I was minister of music at First Baptist here in Waxahachie. The ‘powers that were’ at the time always made us travel on an old Blue Bird school bus, no matter how far we were going. I’d beg for a ‘real’ bus, and one of the men-in-position would insist that the Blue Bird had been overhauled, and we should expect no trouble.
Immediately after high school graduation, we loaded 40+ teenagers and chaperones onto the Blue Bird and left the church parking lot; fortunately, we loaded the luggage onto the church van which (in theory) would follow us from central Texas to central Florida – you guessed it: DisneyWorld.
Somewhere in Mississippi on our first night out, the Blue Bird fizzled out on us for the first time, and we were stranded along the highway in the dark of night, miles from the nearest rest stop/bathroom. In our weary frustration, we unloaded the luggage from the van and began shuttling the kids several miles into the next town to the first and only restaurant open for breakfast. We dropped off a couple of adults and four or five teenagers and repeated the process about ten times.
Inside the restaurant, there was one – count ‘em – ONE waitress. Picture Flo from the 70’s sit-com. There were a couple of people in the kitchen, but I think one was only there to mop and clean up after customers. They were not delighted to know that over fifty people were on their way for breakfast.
The point of this story is that our adult chaperones jumped in and helped with everything that had to be done to get these kids fed. They were taking orders, pouring milk and orange juice, helping out in the kitchen – I definitely had a git-er-done group of chaperones that year.
Here’s the part that relates to the hymn-line: When we dropped off the last group from the bus, I walked into the restaurant and found OUR people serving while Flo took a smoke break over in a corner booth!!!
As I recalled this event, I had a continued understanding of what it meant for Christ to jump in and serve whenever the need arises… not just at the planned banquet, but in the emergency meal. The phrase “see a need and fill it” is not from Scripture, but it certainly describes what the Servant-Savior does – and what his followers should do, even in greasy spoon restaurants in Mississippi.
PS – The Blue Bird faltered on us several more times on this trip. We were late to a couple of concerts, and we missed one altogether. But it was probably the most memorable of all my choir tours. Thankfully, the bus is no longer with us… and no one mourned her final home-towing.