From A to Z (Al to Zucchini Bread)

From A to Z (Al to Zucchini Bread) (1,260)

September 5, 2011

On Saturday night we rolled into Ambler, Pennsylvania. (In retrospect, it might have been better if we had ambled. Oh, well. Lost opportunity.)

We were there to set up in the UpperDublinLutheranChurch and we met Al and Carol, the pastor and his wife, who were quite delightful and receiving. I enjoy my work because I get a chance to use my talents and hopefully enrich the lives of other individuals. But there is always a bit of spontaneity required, based upon going from place to place, person to person and situation to situation.

In this particular case, Al informed me that the second service of the day—the second of three—would be held outside in a clearing behind the church in the woods, so that everyone could enjoy nature. Without shame, I will tell you that although I like to sit in the woods, I would rather not perform there. It is difficult enough to get the attention of an audience without competing with maple leaves and squirrels scurrying for nuts. But I have learned over the years that inconvenience is the only environment in which possibility ever presents itself. So I hushed up and prepared for the next day’s activities.

It was an alphabet of experience, starting with Pastor Al, who is three weeks from retiring, but still graciously allowed us to take one of his final Sundays to share our thoughts. He is a sweet and gentle man, with just enough seriousness to qualify him for the clergy and enough openness to make him usable for others. He looks the part. (That’s really nice. I really don’t look the part of what I do, so I depend upon the visual mercy of my audiences to fill in the blanks, so that I might be passable to their senses. Yet—it must be nice to look the part.)

Then there was a “k”—kids. Not an abundance, but enough of the little folk to make it fun, and also to evaluate the quality of my work. For after all, if I can’t get the attention of a child, I certainly will not hold the attention of an adult. I think Jesus said something like that, too. It’s also fun to watch the little ones, who arrive with coloring books, abandon their crayons in deference to the activities of the day.

How about an “m”—for musicians? We had plenty of them, too. Some people might find me strange because I enjoy all music and admire all those who pursue their talents along that avenue. I am baffled by those who play instruments or sing, who fail to embrace and relish the craftsmanship of others, so when I run across musicians who are willing to give an ear, I am always blessed with bounty.

In my opinion, you can’t have a good church service without “h”—humor. I never feel that I’m laughing AT Godly things. It has always been my impression that I’m laughing WITH God—at ridiculous things. To add to the Psalmist David’s comment: “How fearfully, wonderfully—and comically—we are made.”

I loved the lady who came to my book table who told me a story about how she jocularly made announcements and also kept a good sense of cheer during communion services. She wasn’t quite sure how well it was received, but so far, nobody had asked her to leave.

A teacher came to my table (“t” is for teacher and table). What a sweet soul—an accomplished violinist and pianist, she decided to just sit back on this particular day and enjoy the “note” worthy efforts of other players.

Let’s talk about “s”—spirit. Often when I come into a church there is a bit of a spirit of heaviness, because we, as a nation, are encompassed by some difficulties which are trumpeted and often multiplied by those who think it is their mission to alarm us rather than just inform us. But “the spirit of heaviness is always lifted by the garment of praise”—and once people know it’s all right to clap their hands, enjoy themselves and respond in a human way, then you begin to get more possibilities of the spirit of God permeating the room.

It was a terrific day. I enjoyed it thoroughly. And just as I was about to leave and head out the door, a gentleman with the face of a cherub walked up and handed me a plate of zucchini bread. He told me his wife had made it and I should go and enjoy it. I saw no reason to argue with him.

So as I drove back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I munched a bit of zucchini bread, thinking about my day from A—Al, to Z—zucchini.


For our human journey is a great big bowl of alphabet soup. On this particular day, the congregation provided the broth, I brought the drink and God, Himself, broke bread in our midst.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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