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God and The Chinese Take Out Menu

Previously Published: Monday January 18, 2016

Just as if Matthew Henson was starting out on his first expedition to the North Pole, my eyes slowly yet intently scanned over a Chinese Food take-out menu. Starting at the top left from appetizers to combination plates, carefully musing over each item as if I were studying for a college final exam. I gently turned to the back page where the Luncheon Specials were listed. I knew I needed to make a decision sometime this year, but what? What would I choose? Okay, okay…ummm. Oh, I will have….ummm. Oh, I know! I’ll take the Sweet and Sour Chicken with fried rice and an egg roll!

If it were possible for scientists to track the DNA of the food I have consumed over the course of thirty years, they would discover my chromosomes are actually made up of Sweet and Sour Chicken with fried rice and an egg roll. So why do I have a hard time deciding which item will I select on a menu that has over eight choices of appetizers, six choices of soup, 30 combination plates, 42 luncheon specials and I won’t tell you how many Chef’s Specialties are listed. In fact, why is my choice always the same?

There are a host of exotic dishes which I have not experienced as of yet, for instance; “Dragon meets Phoenix, Bean Sprout Egg Foo Young, Beef with Szechuan Style or Roast Pork with Oyster Sauce.” As is my relationship with God lately, I have come to a place where I only request of him the basic ‘keep my family and myself healthy, and safe and help us pay our bills blessings’. It's working, we are happy and God is happy so why rock the boat?

Although our God is the same God that we can trust in daily, "His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning." Lamentations 3:22-23 KJV. Our struggles and challenges may be the same, yet “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”Isaiah 43:19 Reluctantly, I recently visited the predominantly black Baptist church I grew up in over 20 years ago. I remember each Sunday service you could expect the same course of events. Two or three hymnals, women losing their wig piece during a Holy Ghost shout, a scripture reading, offering plate, and the hooping and groaning of the preacher’s sermon, that you could set a clock by indicating the end of the service. The outer core of the building was the same, yet the inside had expanded with the extension of an east and west wing, a basketball court with an additional kitchen. However, it was just not the inner physical appearance that had been updated. The landscape of people had changed. No longer was the totality of leadership, held by white-haired black men, growing slowly out of touch with how to apply scripture to the present-day realities. There were young black and white men leading the services, on the deacon board, on the usher board, and in the choir! As I glanced through the congregation I saw white and black couples, Asians, young, and old intertwined with black people, all worshiping the same God, within the same walls. The biblical messages were taught with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and with love as the speakers applied the scriptures to our present situations.

I have been challenged to continue revisiting situations and places of my past with an open mind to discover things I have missed initially. Our God is doing a new thing, He wants us to pray with a refreshed mind and attitude, "However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV I have even decided to try a different entrée at the Chinese restaurant, to discover what else I have been missing.

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