Family Fest 2014
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” –Leviticus 19:33-34
One of the things that I always remember about Thanksgiving dinner is the stranger at our table. When I was a young boy, my grandparents owned a tavern. They worked there most days from open to close. And they loved to talk with people who came in for a drink or two. When Thanksgiving would come around, they would always ask, “What are you doing for dinner tomorrow?” If a person had no plans, they were automatically invited to our family’s house for dinner. Therefore, there was always a stranger at our Thanksgiving Day table. My family believed that no one should be alone on a holiday.
This is an attitude that I see all the time at Ascension. When someone comes to visit us for the Divine Service, we are quick to welcome him or her into our family. There is no “us” and “them.” There are no reserved pews; if someone is sitting in our usual place, we rejoice that someone new has joined us. We are a family with plenty of open chairs available to anyone who needs a home.
It’s time to “kick it up a notch.” On September 28, we’ll be having our 3rd Family Fest. It’s chance to celebrate the family of Christ here in this place. But it’s also a chance to welcome the stranger that sojourns among us. Like my grandparents’ Thanksgiving Day table, this year is a year to invite friends and neighbors to join us.
We’ve got a lot in store for this year. We’ll have the usual excellent food: burgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill with salads and desserts from the great cooks here at Ascension. We’ll have the bounce-houses for the kids. And we have even more. We’ll have VBS-style crafts for kids this year. We’ve got three crafts lined up, each with a short lesson on God’s love. All the children who complete all three crafts will also receive a Christian children’s book that they can take home for their very own. But we haven’t left the adults out either. We’ll also have a drawing for some gift cards to local establishments. The drawings are free to enter and you don’t need to be present to win.
Sounds great, right? Does it sound great enough to invite your friends and neighbors to come and take part? While it isn’t Thanksgiving or some other national holiday, it is a holy day for us. Every Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection; every Sunday is a mini-Easter. On September 28, we’re having a bigger than normal celebration. Ask your friends and neighbors if they have plans for that celebration. If not, invite them to join us. We’ll have plenty of food and places at the table.