Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Summer Meal

Sandwiches and watermelon were what our agape meal was all about this Sunday.

We had at least three Caesar salads but I think that every one was gone or almost gone. I thought this one was lovely with the colors from the tasty fresh vegetables that were added.

I just love our fellowship meal in the summer. Caesar salad and a sandwich is the perfect Sunday afternoon lunch to me. And when we've finished we can go outside to visit in the warm, sunny weather while the kids run around on the steps or the grass.

What dishes do you look for at the Agape meal?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Recipe: Taco Salad

I have been bringing this salad almost every week for more than two years, but it is gone every time. Here it is in agape-sized portions, but you could easily make less of it if you wanted to serve it to your family at home.

4 Romaine Lettuce Hearts
1 can Kidney or Black Beans
1 1/2 cup grated cheese
Slightly crunched Tortilla Chips

1 cup Mayo
1 cup Salsa

Quantities are approximate. Add more or less to taste. Chop or tear lettuce into salad bowl. Add cheese and beans. Mix mayo and salsa in lidded container. Fill a quart-sized Ziplock bag with the crunched chips. Mix dressing into salad ingredients and add chips right before serving.

Add fresh pressed garlic to the dressing for extra zing or use ranch dressing instead of mayo.
Doritos instead of plain tortilla chips are always well received.
You can also add ingredients like grated carrots, chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc, though some of these are not as universally appreciated.
Add taco meat to make this salad a main dish.

Noisy Fellowship

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
The pastor lowers his arms and we all sing the last song, a song that has closed our worship service for as long as many of us can remember. Papers rustle as the song leader dismisses us inviting everyone to share our "agape love feast" downstairs. The pianist plays a quick postlude, but no one is paying attention. Children run to join friends, mothers pass newborn babies to other eager arms, the line for the bathroom grows... The afternoon of fellowship has begun.

Elbowing one's way down the stairs one finds what can only be described as barely controlled chaos. Little children are lined up to get candy from "The Candy Lady." People who aren't little children anymore line up for coffee and stop at the bread baskets for a roll or maybe a slice of cinnamon bread. Asa Lopez shares a bottle of wine. Everyone makes his way to his seat as the dishwasher boys put a pitcher of ice water on every table. Finally a deacon announces that we're ready to start, though how anyone hears the microphone over all the happy noise is a mystery. Gradually the aisles clear, we say a prayer, share announcements (applauding for nearly every one), and then Deacon Barnard dismisses tables one by one.

Every week this same ritual takes place. Sometimes—when I'm not cutting up meatballs for or serving corn dogs to my children—I like to sit and listen. The sound of a hundred conversations, the sound of silverware clattering on plates, the sound of laughter... It's boisterous, it's noisy, it's crowded. But these are the sounds of fellowship.