Last night was the first dinner in our dinner club this year and it made for an interesting example of what happens when plans come together well at the last minute. Although there are not as many people involved in our congregation’s dinner club this year as in times past , it was an enjoyable meal nonetheless. It can be a challenge for people to come together. Our host lives somewhat far out in the country, and so it can be a challenge to find people willing to go out at the beginning of the Sabbath to such a place, but we managed to do alright. After I left work with an awkward farewell to my supervisor, I picked up one of the widows of our congregation who was somewhat on the way (?) and then went over to dinner myself. My foot was still hobbling me considerably but at least I was able to drive, although I did appreciate the crutches that were waiting for me (even if it wasn’t until after I got home that I was able to put them together).
When I arrived I found that there were more people than I expected there to be. I had spoken with the host’s daughter when I called over to let them know I had picked up the other member of our group, so I knew she would be there, but I had been told that the couple who gave us a provisional agreement to come had been unable to show up, but they were there too, as was one of the gentleman I had met last week when I was at dinner. This struck me as somewhat interesting, as I thought to myself that there could be a potential relationship here. When one has never met a person and then one has dinner with such a person two Friday nights in a row in the same context, one begins to suspect that something is up, at least. And I am fairly observant, I would think, to the way that people behave in terms of spending a lot of time with each other, or, alternatively, not wanting to spend any time at all. The dinner, of course, provided yet another situation where married couples, divorced people, a widow, and someone who had never married were able to eat and talk in a conversation that had a few awkward silences but was generally enjoyable.
The food itself was what one would expect where we were eating. It goes without saying that a meal with the family is going to involve a lot of eating. I comment from time to time, as I did last night, that there is generally enough food made to feed a platoon (about 20 soldiers). Considering that we had nine people eating last night, that is not an excessive amount of cooking, but anyone who leaves hungry is going to do so by their own choice rather than because of a lack of food. I must admit that I did not eat a particularly large amount, but that was mainly because I have found that the infection I am fighting off has decreased my appetite pretty noticeably, something which I suppose will be a fairly temporary thing. Our hosts went for a rustic theme, which was sensible, and I enjoyed the forest animal-themed table as well as the balance of salad, poultry, and other foods. The widow I drove provided a tasty lemon cake that was sweet enough that the sourness of the lemon did not bother me as much as it normally would have. The conversation included a lot of reminiscing about the past and discussing the way that brethren have a good understanding of the patterns that other people live by, and a deviation from these patterns signifies that there is a problem, in some cases the fact that someone has died or is facing a serious health crisis. It was a surprisingly melancholy conversation, but we are an aging group of people and I suppose it fit the serious mood we were in.
One of the more humorous and biblically related aspects of our conversation was the discussion that we had concerning sacrifices. Someone had commented on the importance of salt in the ancient world, at least until the late 19th century, and that led me to interject that the desire to preserve the freshness of food was one of the elements that led the Bible to require the eating of sacrifices within a certain length of time. One could not, after all, in ancient Israel put the remnants of a food in the fridge or freezer for a future time. There is also in the Bible a frequent deal of concern for daily bread. In our day and age there are many people I know who could probably survive being unable to go grocery shopping for a week or two based on the food they have collected in various fridges and freezers, but food vulnerability is certainly a realistic concern that people have to deal with. It should seem ironic that eating such a large amount of food with a pleasant rustic theme should prompt me to ponder scarcity, but praising God for what we have can often include some reflection on other possible fates that one could deal with if one’s circumstances were less fortunate, as is the case for so many people in our world.
 See, for example: