Friday Night at the Sandel House

Candace prepared a large pot of subtly fragrant rice and a delectable dessert of her own invention (best described as an “orange creamsicle” pudding) this afternoon.

At the sixth of the post meridiem hours, we departed “cross town” to the home of Lance and Tana Sandel, arriving rather later than we had intended.

Not in the immediate instance following the pre-arranged time, those few minutes of which the term “fashionably late” is thus applied. No, we were a good quarter-hour behind.

Of course, it was not out of inconsideration or even disorganization. No, we were late because I overslept.

My long hours caught up with me this morning (as my body had accrued a rather steep “sleep debt”) and Mr. Sandman came to collect his due.

Nevertheless…  our little band of mad glee-drunk ragamuffins joined the teeming throng of children upon stepping out of our motor-carriage, leaving Candace and I to mingle with the grownups.

I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout, having little regard for the vague indication left by what few had responded to Tana’s Facebook invitation. I had already received a few RSVPs from those attending the Little League tournament in the next town that same night, politely declining but offering assurances of making the next one.

There were, of course, the “old standbys” in attendance (households Brown, McPherson, Points, & Prosser) but there were a couple of families with whom I had not been made acquaintance…

One of them was by the name of Watson, in their late 30s with teenaged children, the patriarch being a man called “Tony” whom shared a similar relationship to one of the men I have been ministering to “long-distance” in recent months. While I had been working through correspondence, he had been doing much of the immediate labors.

It was my pleasure to hear of several instances that had occurred well beyond the reach of my own conversations…  a pleasure indeed. Yet there were others present at well, and a goodly part of the time spent in far-reaching conversations amongst all the men. Everything from potential “Dutch-oven” recipes for base camp (when the hunting seasons recommence) to fine points of Theology (such as Perseverance of the Saints or the precise nature of the Fruits of the Spirit).

We also spoke of the shared context in which these get-togethers were meant to augment…  namely: the state of the church (little “c” and big “C”) insofar as it is concerned with the times yet to come.

“…it’s later than you think…”

Overton, as a town, has seen better times…  of course, it has seen worse also. However, the religious communities have seemed to dry-up and fade into utter irrelevance. In the time I have been gone, no less than five churches have closed their doors, and those that remain are hanging by a thread; some deliberate and others oblivious.

Rampant congregational in-fighting, bizarre nepotism, lurid scandal, and slavish obeisance to arbitrary cultural forms have rendered the visible community of believers nearly extinct. A stiff breeze could knock over most of the rotten steeples in this sad little village. ‘Tis little wonder that Methamphetamine is so hot right now.

“…all the knees that have not bowed…”

It is not “seven thousand” but there is a passionate core of men and women whom are dedicated to the task of revival. Not the wild-eyed tent and brimstone sort, but of the Gospel and its Power. Something is happening here…  something beyond happenstance or coincidence.

My mind is spinning with what I can foresee, and that which is well beyond my meager discernment. Brothers and Sisters are being drawn and enfolded into each other’s heart’s love, yet greater still are things to come. Many joys and sorrows, battles won and lost… and even greater Victory.

O, but there is so much to be done! I have little more than a glimpse, yet it is glorious in its rendering. This evening, like purple Wisteria of the Spring-tide, bloomed briefly and passes all-too soon… leaving only her dulcet fragrance.

Tonight was but a single evening, a movable feast, and there are more to come. Even upon the “Freyja’s Day” to come there will be another, to be hosted by my beloved and I. Our menu shall traverse Southward from the Bayous of Louisiana to the borderlands of the Tejanos, cultivators of what we call Tex-Mex, and feature Candace’s fabulous Enchiladas con Pollo.

In-between then and now, though, there will be worship services of the LORD’s Day morning and night; there will be prayer and preaching mid-week, and a handful of brave Souls will test their mettle hurling a leather sphere through netted iron hoops ‘gainst other Brethren…  which shall result in a day’s worth of sore ankles for me, sic transit gloria and all that.

…my candle burns at both ends, it will not last the Night,
but (O, my friends! O, my foes!) it leaves a glorious Light.


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