On Not Being an Ecclesiastical Drive Thru
The news around town (besides the weather and the arrest of a prominent law enforcement official for drunk driving) is the re-opening of the newly re-decorated “Taco Bell”. No fancy “Qdoba” or “Chipotle” franchises here – the hardy citizens of Yooperville prefer the tried & true mass produced heartburn! I have to admit that at times I too have visited the “Taco Bell” drive-thru (incognito of course, with a pair of “groucho” glasses and a borrowed car) to grab a quick $.99 taco or bean burrito. However, having been raised in sunnier climes closer to the southern border where quality rellenos, salsa, and guacamole flowed in abundance from every rock and cacti and finding myself temporarily posted in the icy north I soon realized that if I wanted quality Mexican fare I would have to hunt down the ingredients and make it myself. Which I did and continue to do. Of course that takes time and energy but my taste buds & digestive system appreciate the effort. There is a simpler and quicker way which as I mentioned I have taken advantage of but the really good stuff requires more. I have also noticed that besides the food that this process usually involves others – my spouse, the kids, friends. We get to spend time talking and discussing the events of the day and news and things that are happening and before you know it we are experiencing not only culinary delights but amidst the green onions & cilantro, a sense of community, of belonging, of intimacy. Ever tried to have a significant drive conversation at the drive-thru? I never have. “Have a nice day” doesn’t quite cut it (besides, my family can relate a number of humorous stories of encounters I’ve had with drive thru “squawk” boxes).
I find a parallel when it comes to building and experiencing God’s “ecclesia”, his people gathering together. We have ecclesiastical versions of the drive-thru – it’s fast, convenient and seems in-expensive and doesn’t really require much besides breathing in the exhaust of the car in front of you. But that misses the enjoyment of creating, working together and experiencing the leisure of true community. Plus when actually calculated what I make in the kitchen stretches a whole lot farther quantity and cost- wise than fast food. I know many people who are used to the ecclesiastical drive- thru – they turn up their noses when they can’t get it to go and are asked to jump in and help in the process and not simply hand over the cash and blow out of the parking lot on their way to more important things. But that’s not what I’m here for & it’s not what I plan on doing. If you want cheap & quick, “Taco Bell” is down the road. If you are hungry for the real thing – you have to get in the kitchen, wash your hands, jump in and do what needs doing, then give thanks, relax, enjoy the meal and (of course) help clean up. More work? Yes but tastier by far.
And by the way, you are invited.