My daughter is about to prepare her first casserole to take to a pot-luck supper. We have been going to potlucks all her life, but this is one of the first to which she is invited without us. She has chosen to make a casserole which is classic comfort food in our house ever since I got married and started having meals at the home of my mother-in-law. The recipe comes from the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada cookbook, Cooking Collections (1988). It was entered to the book by the Hon. Muriel McQueen Fergusson and is titled simply My Favorite Casserole.
Other than the great chance to get together with people and have a great time, the joy of a pot-luck supper is two-fold; first you are sure that there will be at least one thing you like to eat on the table since you brought it, and second it provides an opportunity to get a variety of foods for one meal which you would never put together on your own and which may lead to finding new favourite recipes.
One caution which we often forget until it is too late is to take tiny servings of things. It is all too common to go back to the food table over and over again until you are so full you can barely move. In that condition we often vow never to indulge in another pot-luck, or at least to do better next time.
Do you see a parallel to church here?
Making your first casserole for the event is like the life of a person (young or old) within the church. When we fist start attending we rely on those people with experience to lead us, to do the work of preparing and leading worship, preparing and leading Sunday school and Bible studies etc. As we mature in our faith we gradually take steps beyond this comfort zone of simply attending worship or other events. Perhaps we start with helping out at coffee hour, or with taking up the offering in worship. It may not seem like a big deal, but for many people it takes great courage to step up in front of the congregation in any capacity. In turn these actions may lead to further growth in service.
The variety of items on the table at the supper is like the hodge-podge of knowledge and talents with which the members and adherents come to the church. We all have our own special gifts to share and we are comfortable with those. We also have a huge selection of other personalities, gifts and talents, ideas, activities, and jobs with which we may work. Some of those may turn out to be great favourites and some we may choose to avoid in the future.