Blues & BBQ
Blues music started in the Deep South at the end of the 1800s. It combined African music with European folk music. The lyrics were often melancholy and sad.
Downhearted lyrics are not an American invention. Lamentations begins with the announcement that Jerusalem is empty and the ends with the writer asking whether God has deserted the people of Israel once and for all.
It would be nice if joy and peace were the typical status of our hearts and minds, but such isn’t always the case. So we have things like blues music and lamentations to express our feelings. They help us be real with ourselves and real with God.
Benjamin and I love to smoke meat together. We are not purists. We do it the modern way, with an electric smoker, a remote thermometer, and wood pellets. Salmon, whole chickens, and baby back ribs are our favorites. But, BBQing isn’t about the food. It’s about spending a few hours together.
The food finally comes out of the smoker it goes to the table. Usually it’s paired with some sort of potato, vegetable, and pie. And if we are really blessed, a bunch of people to share the meal with. We tell stories from the past. Share hopes about our future. And listen and laugh together. It’s all worth it and then some.
Today we start a new series called Love Does. It’s based upon a wonderful little book of the same title. The premise is that everyday we wake up with an invitation to do love. When a blues song describes our life, we have the invitation to do love. When we wonder if God has deserted us, we have the invitation to do love. When we are surrounded by loved ones enjoying God’s creation, we have the invitation to do love.
The poets tell us love is a feeling. She says, “I’m in love with him.” The Bible doesn’t use the word “love” that way. Love is a verb. It is something we do. Jesus tells us to love God and love others. We do it when we feel like doing it and when we don’t feel like doing it at all.
So enjoy the music this morning. AJ and the band have worked hard. Enjoy the BBQ. We are grateful God provides things like friends and food. And take this five-week journey of doing love and living out the Gospel. It’s going to be an amazing experience.
The best it yet to come…