Summary: A sermon about experiencing God.
"Eating Chicken at a Seafood Restaurant"
The summer before my Senior Year in high school I was asked to work as a Counselor at a United Methodist Church Camp in Upstate New York.
It was similar to, say, Camp Lookout.
As some of you who have seen old pictures of me on my Facebook Page can attest too, I was a bit of a party animal in high school.
Although I went to church every Sunday, and had a good relationship with my pastors and a strong faith in God...
...my friends and I were your basic, kinda rowdy teenage types.
So, serving at Camp Casowasco was a very "new" experience for me.
Casowasco was cool.
One of the neat things about it was that every area of the camp was named after, either a place in the Bible or something from Methodism.
For instance, I believe there was an "Aldersgate" building.
And there were some wooden steps set into a hill on a path.
Those were called "Jacob's Ladder."
And if you climbed Jacob's Ladder you would come to the top of what was called "Mount Tabor."
That's where the section of the camp that I was assigned to work was.
The kids we took care of must have been the youngest of the camp, they were probably either 1st and 2nd grade or 2nd and 3rd grade.
In any event, our campers were called the "Tabor Tots."
The other counselors came from other United Methodist Churches across the Conference, they were young high school kids like me.
And the person in charge of our area was a United Methodist Pastor.
So, we spent the summer swimming, canoeing, camping under the stars, leading the children in Bible study, meeting with all the other campers around a fire every evening for hymn-sings and "light" preaching.
It was an amazing experience--definitely one of the best memories from that period in my life.
Anyhow, I remember vividly, coming home after my summer at Camp Casowasco, and realizing the stark difference between life at camp and life with my friends.
I felt out of place for a while.
I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I had experienced something that summer which was way more glorious and fulfilling than just being a rowdy, wacky teenager.
I'm sure most of you can probably relate to experiences like that.
Perhaps it was an Emmaus walk.
Or maybe it was some other Christian retreat.
Whatever it was, I think we were part of what Peter wrote in our Scripture Lesson for this evening when he says, "you have tasted that the Lord is good."
And isn't one of the central things in all of life to "taste" that the Lord is good?
I mean, it's hard to describe--perhaps as hard as it is to describe the taste of a certain food to someone who hasn't experienced it.
For instance, I love deer meat.
I'm not a hunter, and I haven't eaten much deer meat in my life, but I do love the taste.
But for someone who has never tried it, how can you possibly convey the taste?
I mean, in my opinion, nothing else tastes quite like it.
It's not like frog legs or crocodile on a stick or snake...all those things that you can simply say "it tastes like chicken."
'Cause deer meat doesn't taste like chicken, and it doesn't taste like steak either, and neither does it taste like pork.
It just tastes like deer!!!
So, Peter uses the idea of "taste" as a key signal to describe what it is like to have an experience with God.
"Have you had that taste?" he basically asks.
"Do you know what I'm talking about?"
Of course, as so often is the case, Peter is quoting Scripture.
In this case he is quoting from Psalm 34:8.
"Taste and see how good the Lord is!"
As it is with most children, I don't know how many times I have tried to get Mary Ellen to try a food that she has never eaten.
It can be nearly impossible.
Not too long ago, we were at a Sea Food Restaurant, and I wanted so badly to for Mary Ellen to order something, not from the kid's menu which only offers the same old, same old...
...chicken fingers, hot dogs, hamburgers...etc.
But she wouldn't do it.
So, I ordered one of my favorite selections--Snow Crab legs.
Anyhow, when the waiter brought our meals, Mary Ellen was fascinated by the crab legs with their pinchers and so forth.
And that may have had something to do with the reason she agreed to try a bite.
Suffice it to say, after one taste of crab, Mary Ellen was smitten and I spent as much time pulling crab meat out of the shells for her as I did for myself.