Yesterday I preached at Elm Church in Elmhurst, IL, just a few miles west of Oak Park where I pastored for 16 years. Because we were in the area, quite a few present and former members from the church in Oak Park came out to Elmhurst for the service. It was like Old Home Week. It seemed to me as if there were more people from our former congregation than from Elm Church. That may not be exactly accurate, but I’m sure it’s close.
Between us, Marlene and I had a nonstop hug-a-thon with those dear friends from our former church. It was refreshing and encouraging to see so many old friends and to enjoy the fellowship of the saints at Elm Church. All in all, a very good day.
As we were driving away after the service, Marlene told me that one friend said that coming to hear me preach was like “going home for a bowl of soup.”
I pondered that for a while and decided that I like that image.
A bowl of soup is nutritious.
Going home for soup brings back many good memories.
Soup encourages fellowship and laughter.
It takes time and effort to produce a good bowl of soup.
Soup warms you from the inside out.
Soup helps you feel better when you're sick.
It is the quintessential comfort food.
Soup is simple and yet complex.
If you’ve got soup, you’ve got a full meal.
Leftover soup is often better the next day.
(Readers are welcome to make their own additions to that list.)
I won’t make any claims for my sermon yesterday except that I felt complete freedom in the pulpit and enjoyed bringing God’s Word. In the ministry God has given us, we often speak in venues where we know only a few people. It’s good for the soul to be around friends who still love you after all these years.
Maybe there’s a reason those “chicken soup for the soul” books have sold so many copies. Soup and sermons have this in common. You can enjoy them alone, but they go down better when shared with friends.