Linda has a marvelous team of caregivers! With the exception of one substitute, they are members of the same family–grandmother, two daughters, and a granddaughter. They lovingly, efficiently, and faithfully care for Linda around the clock, seven days each week.
I marvel at their skill, patience, and attentiveness. They can change the bed with Linda in it! Linda’s resistance and agitation never rattles them. Her slightest sounds and movements get their attention.
They treat Linda with utmost respect and dignity. They have learned her unique mannerisms and sounds. She’s treated as a person with a story rather than as patient with symptoms. It is not uncommon for me to overhear one of them say, “I love you, Miss Linda.”
To them, “family” means more than biological relatives. That’s evident in their annual cookout. Each year they have a huge cookout and invite all who wish to come.
The event began a few years ago as a way of expressing appreciation to their neighbors who had helped them during a difficult time. It has evolved into a joyful celebration of and for community.
Here is some of the food prepared this year: 16 racks of barbequed ribs, a roasted pig, 4 cases of chicken, two cases of turkey wings, several boxes of hot dogs, 10 gallons of baked beans, 10 gallons of green beans, 10 coconut pies, 10 sweet potato pies, 10 pecan pies, 2 sheet cakes that would feed a hundred people, dozens of cupcakes, scores of deviled eggs, and more! What a feast!
As many as 150 people show up! Black, brown, and white! Rowdy kids and frail elderly! Married and single! Gay and straight! Religious and non-religious! Educated and uneducated! Employed and unemployed! Parolees and police officers! Strangers and familiar neighbors! A motley gathering of diverse humanity!
“Anyone who comes to the table becomes family,” said the host. “It don’t matter who they are; they’re welcome!”
Now, as we pastors say, “That’ll preach!”
Caring for one another and all of God’s children seems to be in the DNA of this family! I know little about their religious affiliation and their understanding of religious doctrines.
What I do know is this: They embody Christlike love and their lavish table and generous hospitality are visible signs and foretastes of the kingdom of God.
Is this not what the church is called to be? Have we not been made one family? Is that not what we celebrate at The Lord’s Table?
God grant that the church would open wide its doors and announce to the world: “Anyone who comes to the Table becomes family!”