Adventure Graham

Snippets of Graham family adventures in faithfulness

Tag: s’mores

Marshmallows and Ministry

By Elizabeth

We have a tradition around here. We kick off the new year at Kids’ Club (our twice-monthly activity for kids and their families) with s’mores. The gooey, marshmallow-y, chocolatey treat that’s a staple of campfires and autumn gatherings all across the United States is the center of attention.  It’s a tradition three years in the running, so you know it’s a real tradition. At first, no one knew how to make s’mores. Most of our participants hadn’t roasted a marshmallow before. But three years in, we have developed some pretty marvelous expertise.

One of the really cool things about cross-cultural ministry is sharing cultures—language, music, clothing, and food, of course. Our friends feed us curries and pavlovas and savory pies and gelatin desserts made from seaweed. We feed them tacos and chili and… s’mores.  It’s great fun to share food and in so doing, share bits and pieces of ourselves.

When we gather each year for S’more S’mores, we’re bringing with us all the nostalgia of marshmallows roasted around a campfire, chocolatey Hershey’s bars, crisp autumn evenings, and warm apple cider, and we’re allowing it to be shaped and given significance among a different body of people. It becomes for us a symbol of shared experience, of an intentional willingness to do life together, despite our vast differences.

While any grocery or convenience store in the US can fulfill your s’more ingredient needs, our ingredients are imported to New Zealand. Kiwi marshmallows just don’t get that essential toasted on the outside, gooey in the middle combination when you roast them. Meanwhile, Hershey’s bars and Graham crackers flat out aren’t a thing here. We’ve done the importing ourselves in the past, but we relied on an American imports store in Auckland this year. Luckily, they had *just* enough chocolate.

This year, it was unseasonably warm on the afternoon of our marshmallow roasting a few weeks ago. We may have stood as far away from the hot fire as we could, but that didn’t deter us. We gathered, we roasted, we ate, we licked our lips and our fingertips, and we looked forward to the great year ahead. In the process, we were formed a little bit more into a community, a little bit more into the body of Christ that chooses to be united by Him and allows our food to help us along the journey. It’s marshmallows and ministry. Food and faith. Cuisine and community. The bread and the cup.

In the same way that we offer hospitality when we share our food with others, we reciprocate that hospitality when we eat the varied foods of those we do life with. We create space in our lives and in our palates for others. In some small way, gathering around the fire pit (or brazier, as kiwis call it) is like the disciples gathering around a fire to cook their morning catch for breakfast. Really, there’s only one thing that brings this odd bunch together—Jesus. In him, we find that we have a place of community and belonging. It may even involve marshmallows.

Breath. Inhaled.

By Jaron

Photo by Pam Wullems

Photo by Pam Wullems

Photo by Pam Wullems

Photo by Pam Wullems

Important s'more preparation: marshmallow roasting. Photo by Pam Wullems

Important s’more preparation: marshmallow roasting. Photo by Pam Wullems

The scene was one of ordered chaos. Marshmallows were on fire, kids were running everywhere, and handfuls of leaves were being thrown into the hair of unsuspecting victims. There was a steady din of noise infused with laughter. The atmosphere was crackling with life.

I was standing on the church steps looking out over our Kids’ Club event that takes place twice each month. This week had a bit of novelty. My parents are here visiting for Quentin’s birthday and we asked them to bring the necessary ingredients for s’mores. This idea all started from a conversation we had with our friends Paul and Hope. After describing what s’mores are, Hope insisted that we help her experience this very American campfire food. So this Sunday we made s’mores at Kid’s Club, with ingredients lovingly supplied from my parents’ suitcases. The word had gotten out and over 40 adults and children turned up for the fun.

As I smelled the smoke from the fire, led the group in a rowdy rendition of “Spring Up O Well,” and listened to Elizabeth tell the story of Paul’s Damascus Road Experience, I was struck by the story that God is weaving here. In many ways it felt like a beginning. Like a huge breath has just been taken in and is now ready to exhale flowing forth into the world around us. God is up to something, something big, something transformational, something redeeming.

On May 5 (Thursday) we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord. We remember that Christ has not only risen but has ascended into heaven. But wait there’s more! The Good News is not yet all told. In Luke 24:49 Jesus’ last words to his disciples before ascending are “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

That’s right, Jesus told his disciples to wait, and in waiting to anticipate the power of the Holy Spirit that would come from on high and cloth them. It would be this outpouring of the Holy Spirit that would send the disciples pouring into the world at Pentecost. It’s as if the story of redemption has been breathed in, Jesus has returned to His rightful place, and the disciples, along with all of creation, anticipate the exhale, the outpoured breath that must surely come. The breath of God that will light the fires of salvation and redemption and send them raging throughout the world.

This passage resonates with me today. It feels familiar, real, true, alive. I feel like the disciples must have felt. Christ is clearly on the throne. Christ has all power and authority. Christ has set the stage. The inhale has taken place, and so we anticipate the exhale. The outpouring is coming and it is coming soon. God is at work here. I see it in the faces of the families at Kids’ Club. I hear it in the voices of those not sure what to think of the church. I see it in the colors of the Mongrel Mob down the street. I hear it in the questions of those honestly seeking the face of Christ.

And so I anticipate the incredible outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I look forward to the exhale, to living the story that will be woven. We have glimpsed a new beginning and we look forward with great anticipation to the life that is to come. We are excited to see women and men experience the love of Christ and be caught up in the flow of the Holy Spirit as it flows across our city and beyond.

 

Parting Shot

Super Mario mushrooms really do exist and they are growing in our yard!

Super Mario mushrooms really do exist and they are growing in our yard!

 

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