I send out a plea to you all… help save my volunteer writing job with The Messenger! I know our column is called Behind the Scenes, but if all you volunteers stay anonymous with your work, then my volunteer work is about over. I need interviews with you because you are contributing to the Kingdom. So if you, or someone you know, is making a difference at BelPres, raise your hand and I’ll be there! Try and think of it as highlighting the work that you are a part of, so others will want to join in. I promise you I will work very hard at minimizing you as someone extraordinary.
Well moving forward, this month the theme is about inviting. I’ve come up short with enough material, so I’ve had to go out of this world to find the perfect volunteer who will talk to me. Actually, I’ve interviewed her for years, but she just doesn’t know it. She’s my mom, Lorraine Lang. Let me tell you that as I write this, I miss her something fierce. We’re approaching the eighth anniversary of her passage to heaven. My mother was not the person that you would see stand up at church and give a testimony or even pray aloud with others. She would get the cries real bad if she did so; the Gospel ran deep for her. So she invited in a different way and did what Romans 12:13b says to do. That is, simply, “Practice hospitality.”
Mom was born and raised in South Dakota. I’m sure you’ve all seen The Bridges of Madison County with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. It’s set in the Midwest. There’s a scene where a neighbor brings a homemade layer cake in the middle of the day and they put on a pot of coffee and visit the afternoon away. That’s where my mom’s from, those genes. So when she invited people over for dinner, it was an event. Her go-to meal was roast beef, mashed potatoes with real butter and cream, homemade gravy, corn on the cob, fruit, green or sometimes Jell-O salad. And then there were her cinnamon rolls. When her guests came through the front door, the heat of the oven and the welcoming scent of cinnamon and homemade bread fanned them. The look on their face revealed their astonishment that someone would take the time and effort to roll out a spread like this, just for them. The invitees might be a black sheep family member, an unchurched neighbor, or maybe someone who was just visiting the church. She was no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). I can still see her rosy cheeks and dusty apron as she raised the rolling pin when she laughed.
When her memorial rolled around, it was standing room only. The invitees came out of the woodwork to talk about her Paula Dean-worthy potato salad, cinnamon rolls, and other dishes that made the “It” list. Usually their tag line was, “She made me feel special.” Mom invited people to show them the unconditional love of Jesus in a way that was organic for her.
We lead very busy lives, the roast beef dinner thing might not work into my schedule. However, I can vouch that there is a killer Mama Lil’s Roasted Red Pepper and Goat cheese pizza at Whole Foods and speaking of organic in a different way, it so makes the “It” list. Now the next task: who shall I invite first?
To nominate a deserving volunteer for their “Behind the Scenes” service, contact GetConnected via email, email@example.com, for a nomination form or find it here. Scroll down to “Contact GetConnected”, then select “Secret Servant Nomination” from the drop down menu.