Last night I told my kids what we'd be doing after church today:
"We'll be going to church again, at Silver City. Then we'll be helping serve lunch, along with some other folks from our Life Group and another Life Group."
"Why?" my son Matthew inevitably responded.
Then I had one of those flashbacks to an old Star Trek episode, the one where Captain Kirk has just assigned a panicky junior officer to the boarding party of a ship a gazillion times bigger which has relented on its threat to destroy them. So I answered him the same way:
"The face of the unknown. I think I owe you a look at it."
After church we went, not knowing what to expect at all.
Silver City Church meets in the fellowship hall of the Gardner United Methodist Church in downtown North Little Rock at 12:30 p.m. each Sunday, thanks to their very good grace of their hosts. It is comprised mostly of black teenage and younger kids, a few black single moms, a handful of young white couples and singles. They sing praise songs - only praise songs, as nearly as I can tell! - which they are still learning from the overhead projections. They clap vigorously during the appropriate songs. They sit quietly and listen when one or two of the young men speak. They share in the Lord's Supper. Nobody takes a poll to find out who should or shouldn't. They worship.
And we enjoyed the great privilege of worshipping with them.
Then we served them taco salads, made to order. The servers included a university chancellor, an attorney, a retired bank president, and a technology investment executive and their wives ... among others; my kids right there beside them. Matthew dispensed grated cheese and by his side, Laura delivered diced tomatoes, their little latex gloves glistening. (Though they switched places late in the serving.) I set up and bussed tables and poured soft drinks.
Afterward, most went out to the parking lot to toss around a football.
We lingered a bit to admire a beautiful brand new baby girl who was opening her eyes for her first time at church and trying to focus them on the circle of grinning faces - white, black and some in-between - simpering down at her.
The face of the unknown.
She got a good look, and so did we.
On the way home just now, I was able to convey to my kids the compliments of the others in my Life Group and leaders of Silver City Church for their eagerness to serve.
It was an extraordinary blessing.