Before my uncle went to bed he told me, “coffee at 8:00, breakfast at 9:00.” So I waited until the second hand on my watch let me know it was five seconds to 8:00 and I walked into their kitchen. “Dean has a big breakfast all prepared for you,” said my aunt and she pulled out plates from every direction. He had made crepes, waffles, scrambled eggs and some sort of topping to put on the crepes. There was also fresh fruit and salmon.
“On your way back from Florida, be sure to bring your wife,” he told me. I told him I was not sure, as Roxanne was flying down to meet me in Florida with her mother and it would be the three of us driving back.
It was Sunday morning and I dressed with the hope of pulling off the interstate to catch a church service. Just past the gas stations and the fast food restaurants on Exit 87 was a Baptist Church.
“Welcome, friend,” said the usher. The worship team had already started clapping. “Celebrate, Jesus is alive,” they sang. The lead singer played the keyboard which included drums, horns and a full orchestra. She had a voice rivaling any I had heard in any Southern gospel band. The other singers had a perfect muted harmony. “You are worth of my praise,” they sang. It was an emotional song that clearly touched all of us in the congregation with an age span of 3 to 93. After a few more songs, the preacher got up and walked down the aisle. “Did your son get that job we’ve been praying for? How’s Maribel? Is she feeling a little better after her surgery? Any news on Patrick over in Afghanistan?” He prayed for everyone by name and then gave a sermon that was well prepared and well delivered. He spoke on courage and standing up for God’s Word in a world that no longer has much tolerance for Christians. After the service, several came over to me. They were interested in where I was from and wanted to share with me some of their good Southern cooking, for this was potluck Sunday. I was glad to have been there. Wherever there are Believers, one feels at home.
I counted 27 people in the church. From several allusions made in the sermon, I understood the church had just gone through a split. They were a very warm, seemingly spiritual group. Their program was excellent. So what happened? I’m afraid I could guess: one or two strong egos, hurt feelings, words said in private that become public; probably a divorce with different families taking different sides—blood runs thick you know.