This past Saturday evening we attended the Christ Community Church Fourth Annual "Godly-Manly Chili Master Cook-off." There were 14 entrants this year and it was the first time total participation required we move out of the Fellowship Hall and convert the main Sanctuary into a fellowship and dining facility. I wondered what my parents and grandparents would have thought of this move into "the Sanctuary," but I think it reflects life in a congregation when you have too many people sharing their lives together that you need a bigger room.
The entries certainly reflected an extremely wide variety of concoctions which the self-assured chefs proffered as Chili. Of the 14 presented, I was able to sample twelve, two (thankfully) being exhausted before I could get around to them. By the grace of God and wisdom of the event's founders, the servings were in one ounce increments. Eight of these samples I consumed in their entirety, four had ninety-percent of one-ounce consigned to an appropriate receptacle. There was only one, No. 14, which I felt compelled to sample twice (OK, thrice). One of those I did find the most palatable was the entry of my friend Jerry Fine, Texas Chili. Texas, you must understand is, to say the least, different from the rest of America. We all voted for our three favorites. I voted for No. 14 and for Jerry's -- the latter primarily out of loyalty and not at all out of sympathy for his being from Texas.
The women of the church also brought desserts. These were not to be voted upon, but it seemed incumbent on me to at least sample one or two; just to be polite. Mostly I sampled the cherry-cheesecake. As this delicacy was somewhat dubious, I was compelled by my sense of decency to sample it three times. Fortunately, rather unfortunately, these samples were not in one-ounce servings, so I had to endure full portions. Presented the option I would have voted for the cherry-cheesecake.
We couldn't stay for the grand announcement of 2009 Chili Master; but prior years experience being predictive, all had a good time. The morning-after I personally heard of only one indication of refuge to digestive medication. For the record, this was not me. It takes a more than a little cheesecake -- I mean chili -- to distress my intestines. Kay, being the wisest of women, avoided chili and dined exclusively on the desserts.
There is a Greek word in the Bible usually transliterated "koinonia". According to www.gotquestions.org, "Koinonia's primary meaning is "fellowship, sharing in common, communion." The first occurrence of koinonia is Acts 2:42, 'They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.' Christian fellowship is a key aspect of the Christian life. Believers in Christ are to come together in love, faith, and encouragement. That is the essence of koinonia."
Some of the chili offerings Saturday night had no beans; at least one had no beef. All came loaded with Koinonia. This made all fourteen most encouraging; more so because the fellowship was in "the sanctuary".
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.