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Homecoming and going

By Mike Ruffin I’m serving as interim pastor of The Rock Baptist Church. A couple of Sundays ago, we had lunch together after the worship service. Everybody brought food. There were about 30 people there. We could have fed 150. We had at least 12 baskets of food left over. It was all very Biblical. It was also lots of fun. Midway Baptist Church, the church to which my parents first took me when I was 10 days old (as my mother never tired of reminding me), and in which I was baptized into the church and ordained to the ministry, has been having Homecoming on the second Sunday in June ever since John the Baptist baptized Jesus. As I write this on June 8, I’m planning to go this Sunday. If my plans held up, as you read this, I went last Sunday. I had to preach at The Rock before I went. Gee, I hope Midway had some food left. The best I can recollect, the last Midway Homecoming I attended was in 1977. That was a year before I graduated from college and got married in June of 1978. So it’s been 39 years since I last went to Homecoming at Midway. I’ve been busy, especially on Sundays. I wonder if Midway still uses aluminum wash tubs in the serving line. Back in the day, they used them big time. There’d be barbecue in one, Brunswick stew in one, sweet tea in one and lemonade in another. If they’d have had one filled with banana pudding, things would have been perfect. I’ll bet they don’t have the old 55-gallon drum water fountain. The best water I ever had came out of that thing. I guess it was the rust. It was a drum with a spigot rigged to it. They’d get a big block of ice from the Barnesville Ice Company (which, as best I can recall, was located about where the bank drive-through is now) and put it in the drum. Some aluminum dippers hung from the tree under which the drum sat. You’d take a dipper, get some water from the spigot, drink it, and hang the dipper back up. We drank after each other without even thinking about it. It was Christian community at its best. Yep, Baptist churches­ especially the rural variety – know how to eat. I reckon churches of other denominations do, too. I just don’t have much experience with them. Baptists take the Bible pretty seriously. We do believe (although we’d never admit it – it’s a subconscious thing) that it should be changed in one small way. We think that, every time it says ‘fast,’ an ‘e’ dropped out. Clearly, it meant to say ‘feast.’ As the story goes, three women died around the same time and arrived at the pearly gates together. St. Peter told them the computer was down, so unless they could somehow prove they should be let in, they’d have to wait. One of the ladies was Roman Catholic. She rummaged around in her purse and pulled out her Rosary and showed it to Peter. He let her enter. The second lady was Methodist. She rummaged around in her purse and pulled out her book of Wesleyan hymns. Peter let her go in. The third lady was looking furiously through her purse. Peter asked, ‘What are you doing?’ She replied, ‘I’m Baptist, and I know I have a casserole in here somewhere!’ Of course, we eat for theological and spiritual reasons. The Bible says when Jesus comes back and God makes everything as it should be, there’s going to be a big banquet. We’re trying to get a head start. Homecoming’s just practice for home going. Mike Ruffin attempted to grow up on Memorial Drive in Barnesville. He’s a graduate of Miss Sylvia’s Kindergarten, Gordon Grammar School, Lamar County High School, Mercer University, and the old (some of you know what I mean) Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He thinks, wonders, hopes, prays, writes, edits, and preaches.

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