Etchings in the Sand…

Thoughts and Photos from the Desert…

Beans and Cornbread…

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:

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5 responses to “Beans and Cornbread…

  1. Erica Olson Jeffrey July 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    So much power in tradition. It comforts, sustains, reminds us and brings us into communion. It seems the trick is to not confuse tradition with the actual Source of power, because tradition then feels empty. I love this blog entry. 🙂

  2. Faith July 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Yum.
    Resend the recipe, please.

  3. ttennheat July 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    A great reminder that memories don’t always come in the form of something grand or fancy; much the same as our Lord and Savior.

  4. KAREN PETERSEN July 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Always enjoy your notes. Our pastor just retired after 8 years and yesterday a new one entered our doors. He was talking about change etc. then he almost closed the service without doing the offering. I bet he will always remember his first day here. I wanted to kid him and tell him that is one change that would probably work. I think I still remember one of your first sermons telling First Methodist they need to take care of the foundation that have been given them. You got us going.
    P.S. I still have the vase you gave me when I came to see you in Arizona. It is in my John Deere room on my roll top desk. Good memories.

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