Beans and Cornbread…
July 5, 2011
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When I graduated from seminary, I was appointed founding pastor of a new church in northeast Oklahoma City. There were lots of people around, but no church. Six years later, when I moved to another church in New Mexico, it was a nice church that we left behind. St. Andrews United Methodist Church. It had been a wonderful time.
One of the strange things that emerged from our life together there was an annual beans and cornbread congregational dinner. It took me a long time to understand why folks would look forward to and so excitedly share a meal as humble as that. It gradually sunk into my yankee mind that the source was pure nostalgia. Oklahoma had been the center of the depression that plagued our land in the ’30s. Many of our church people were children of that catastrophe. They were reliving tragic moments from their history. But they did so with a deep memories and ironic joy. Parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends – many of them long gone – had riden out those times with them. They remembered much that few would understand. Beans and cornbread.
Oddly, as the years have gone by, we have regularly celebrated good meals of beans and cornbread. Nostalgia, perhaps. History, yes. The basics, definitely. I cooked up a patch today. A sacramental visit to good times and fine people.
Here’s a memento: