Seven men walk into a bar, make that a restaurant, at 6:00 in the morning. With a big wink, they refer to this as “mid-morning,” just half-way between midnight and noon. What is wrong with this picture? Well apparently nothing. It doesn’t happen by accident. This monthly event, officially called “Men’s Bible Study” is well-planned and has been occurring for over 20 years. They come, they pray, they eat and they discuss the Bible text for the following Sunday. This time around they focus on excerpts from the Book of Matthew. Interim pastor, Tom Bryan, leads this jovial group as they share thoughts and ponder Luther’s famous question, “What does this mean?”
Clearly there is a bond that has developed between these men and their shared faith in God. They trust one another and know each other well. Some of them are neighbors and some of them are related. Pastor Tom, of course, is an outsider, but not in this place and not at this table. He is welcomed as one of God’s family and one of the St. James Trinity men of faith.
Why do they get up this early in the morning to come and do this? Couldn’t they do this at another time? Vernon Aiken quickly replies, “We’re done sleeping!” The restaurant doesn’t open a minute before 6:00, so those who arrive early, yes early, have to wait in their cars for the door to be unlocked. Really, they come early and wait? Yes, gulp!
“We come for food and camaraderie,” offered Gary Kuntz. But they come mostly to study the Bible. Asked whether they would still come if it happened later in the day, they quickly say “sure, but why would we do that?” When asked if “mid-morning” Bible study is supported somewhere in scriptures, Pastor Tom quickly replies, “Yes. It’s in a new book…..yep….hmmmmm…..a new book.” And then he laughs.
God is here walking beside these men within their hearts, their lives, their families, their church, their community and their world. They are bound together. They are their own little choir, singing their faith to each other and to God through this community breakfast. They live out the words to Gillman’s 1946 hymn:
Bind us together, Lord, Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord, Bind us together, Bind us together with love.
There is only one God, There is only one King; There is only one Body, That is why we sing.