Pass the best faith recipes along to a friend

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2019

I write to you today from Huntington Beach, California, just a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean. Every summer the amazin’ blonde and I take our excursion here to see our son Malachi who is making his way in life far to the west of us. We stay at a motel right across the road from the spewing and popping waves of the excitable Pacific, to which I get a close-up view every morning while the clouds still hang over the ocean.

This morning, as I walked, I began the mental exercise of editing our longtime work on a book on faith. I’m afraid that if I don’t get with it, our faith will have turned to sight before I get her pages in your hand. But times such as these far-west trips help to expedite the slow process. As I walked and thought, my mind went to the core of the book, and to the question – How will the faith of the younger generations withstand the tide?

Of course, I thought particularly of the faith of my own daughter and son who currently are hovering around 40. Many of my LaGrange peers and classmates understand well, because they have kiddos about the same age as mine, although mine are bit older than most due to the amazin’ blonde’s chasing me down and asking me to marry her when I was but 19. I say it that way, even though I haven’t found anyone actually to believe it yet.

I can assure you of one fact about the generation that came along in the 50s and 60s: Generally, we were raised with church being the number one thing – not sometimes or perhaps, but all-the-time and no-doubt-about-it. You didn’t get up Sunday mornings wondering if you were going to church that day. You got up, hit the shower, and got ready just as if you were going to school.

Sunday was another school day, just that school was at the church and Preacher Miller was the teacher. Another thing, we sat up and paid attention, too, at church. If we slipped, we likely suddenly felt a sharp pinch on the side of our leg that stung like a needle. 

I thought of my good, hardworking son as I walked the beach on this morning, and I hoped that we were able to instill in him a faith in the Lord that resembles the faith that sat regularly on those hard, wooden, Murphy-Avenue benches. I’d say I’d want that faith to stick to him and to Rach and my grandkids the way Grandma’s fried chicken – which was the grand prize we won for staying awake at church – stuck to our ribs when we were growing up. Her chicken, I am glad to say, stuck not only to my generation’s ribs, it stuck to my children’s as well. They were blessed to become acquainted with Grandma’s fried chicken and the best Southern cooking on either side of the Mississippi while also getting a close-up view of the stout faith of their great-grandparents E.H. and Zoni Bell Miller. Those two served my children well, just as they served the town of LaGrange and the church down below the monument well for half a century. 

My children saw what it was like being raised with church right up front and everything else taking a back seat. Our regular trips back home to LaGrange did its work. Plus, they got to sit and feast at Grandma’s table while they watched. Nothing better than that. It was on such trips that my children saw faith that likely is greater than any they will ever see again. 

But amid all these thoughts on this early Pacific-coast morning, I realized this: Sitting at such a table of faith is not enough, as grand of a spread as it was. The next generation would have to learn to cook and fix for themselves, with the Lord’s help. Oh, they may use Grandma’s old recipes – and I sure hope they do – but they won’t have Grandma to serve them like kings and queens their whole lives. They must go through the grueling, powdered-face process of learning to bake and set their own table, inspired greatly by those who had set the table well themselves many years before.

But if they will work at doing just that, they will find their faith is not a mere borrowed, inherited faith at all. It is their own. Over time, it has become such. They can sit down at their own table, gather their children around it, and share with the next generation a great feast they and the Lord have prepared themselves.

And while you do that, young ones, don’t forget to pass along all the best recipes, too.