At church, Cousin Phil, a teacher in the village of Filiatra and the son of James’ uncle who shares the olive groves with his father, plays the guitar and another person plays the violin while the congregation sings together. We follow along in the Greek hymnals and recognize some words. Around the Lord’s supper thanksgiving table, thanksgiving prayers from different people are spoken, male and female, old and young. Entering into this part of the worship service is truly a uniting time of thanksgiving. Andreas, James’ father, is the preacher today. He speaks of joy, even while facing difficulties. And the Greeks know hard times. With the recent fires and the recent flooding and the economic situation here, some of these people are wading through some struggles. But God will use those to make them stronger, and He will provide strength. Andreas asks Clay to share a greeting, so he and James go to the front to speak and translate for our brothers and sisters in this sweet village. It hits me again that when we worship in our corporate worship settings on Sundays, we are worshiping right alongside people I’ve grown up with and/or met in the USA, Greece, Italy, Israel, France, England, and Scotland. God is the Lord of us all, no matter in which side of His globe we reside.
Andreas puts on his figurative chef hat and fires up the grill upon arrival at the house. He cooks all kinds of meat while the ladies prepare potatoes, sautéed vegetables, slaw with an orange and honey dressing that sends me to my happy place, and a Southern Living peach cobbler, even though Jill’s from up north. Kidding... We feast like kings. Shielded from the sun under the porch of their home that is nestled amongst the olive trees, we all discuss things of substance until late in the afternoon. I haven’t had a Sunday afternoon like this in...well, I can’t remember one exactly like this. If this is how Sunday afternoons are supposed to be, and I think it is, I must find a way to get the other housework done during the week. This is special.