Educated at Home

“Let us eat and make merry.”

—Luke 15:23

This has been a happy time: I’ve spent all day with my family, eaten a fine meal, played with my grandchildren, been to a baptism, and I went to communion.”  These were the words of my uncle—with their telling rhetorical climax—on leaving his sister’s house in Eastern North Carolina one Sunday evening last fall.  I was back visiting, and the family had converged for the baptism of a little “first cousin once-removed.”  The baptism had been held on a communion Sunday at the Methodist church.  After, there was a reception at home, with the preacher and his wife, friends, and the usual compliment of children running around the yard on all four sides of the house, messing up their good clothes.

At the buffet table, groaning with biscuits, tiny butter beans, field peas, squash, green beans, chicken, gravy, rice, “congealed salad,” chess pie, and sweet iced tea, my favorite cousin declared, “Well, John and Anne [the little neophyte’s parents] didn’t do any better than Adam and Eve, but we fixed that today!”  As a true theologian, the embarrassment of bodily delights laid out before us did not distract him from contemplating in concreto the lofty revealed truths of the Gospel. ...

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