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Thursday, July 28, 2022

Steincross Lancaster reunion (Click to enlarge photo)
Steincross family on the Old Windmill Farm
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Blessing Of Reminiscing"

Message summary: Today we want to encourage our readers to do some reminiscing about having a meal in a memorable setting. Then we want you to consider a meal in the Bible that surely became a source of lifelong reminiscing to those who partook.

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"And he (the Philippian jailer) brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household" (Acts 16:34).

Early this week we had our 48th annual family reunion for my mom's side of the family, the descendants of my grandparents, George Washington and Nellie Mae Steincross. In my lifetime that began when going to their home in rural Missouri through my teens. After they passed on we began meeting in various resort areas since 1975. All their children are now gone and now my generation, their grandchildren, is the oldest.

This year we held it in Lancaster County since it was our turn to host. We are very pleased at the way things worked out and everyone thoroughly enjoyed Lancaster County, nicknamed the Garden Spot of America. They experienced first-hand the quintessential pastoral views booming with acres of tall corn, soybeans, vegetables and flowers of every color. Of course the self-serve produce stands are near the farms offering beautiful bouquets of flowers along with various kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Old Windmill FarmThe highlights of our reunion included two group meals.

Monday evening we met on the Old Windmill Farm for a picnic on the grounds. The farm never disappoints and our family had a great time with a tour of the barn, mule-drawn wagon hay rides and horse-drawn barrel rides for the children. We enjoyed grilled hot dogs and all the complimentary foods followed by a beautifully decorated cake made by Shady Maple big enough for 80 people. We celebrated two couples' 50th wedding anniversary and one couple celebrating their 60th. Rhubarb Punch was a big hit especially among the children. After our meal we had a time of both informal and formal reminiscing that further endeared us to our family roots.

Tuesday evening we had a full sit-down meal prepared by an Amish family in their home with all the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch foods. They served us delicious food and after the meal we reminisced even more. Before departing we formed in a circle of prayer led by my cousin, Dub Steincross. It was a memorable experience for all gathered in that setting and we hope it will be another source of pleasant reminiscing for years to come.

To reminisce is defined as the enjoyable recollection of past events. For many of us it is among the most pleasant aspects of aging!

Have you ever tried to tally how many meals you've eaten? Of course in most cases it will only be an estimate but based on our age we figure we've each had some 70,000 meals (give or take several thousand). That's just based on our age and three meals a day and doesn't even include munching! We don't remember the vast, vast majority of meals but we certainly have had some memorable ones often due to the special occasion and the people we ate with.

Today we want to encourage you to do some reminiscing about memorable meals you've eaten had as we consider a meal written about in the Bible that surely became a source of lifelong reminiscing to all those who partook.

Philippian jailorIt follows the marvelous conversion of the Philippian jailer who was spared from suicide and redeemed through salvation. That story is recorded in Acts 16:16-32. The jailer immediately demonstrated evidence of his conversion by taking his maximum security prisoners, Paul and Silas, and tending to their fresh wounds, and by being baptized (v.33).

The last Scriptural reference to this jailer is seen in our daily text when he "brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household" (Acts 16:34).

"And he brought them into his house." Of course we don't know how far the house was from the jail but assume it was close, perhaps even attached to it. What a change for Paul and Silas who, a short time earlier, had their robes torn off, were beaten with rods, thrown into an inner cell and had their feet fastened in stocks. What a contrast to now experience the warm fellowship of a home and meal presented by the prison warden, no less. Was the jailer married and if so what did his wife think when she saw him bringing these beaten prisoners into their home in the middle of the night?

Aunt Bee"And set food before them." Paul and Silas had been severely beaten the day before and there is no record of any meal in the prison. Even if there had been it's hard to imagine it being very tasty since prison food usually doesn't rate well. The only appealing food in a jail setting I've ever considered was the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and biscuits from Aunt Bee's kitchen she often prepared for jailbirds on the "Andy Griffith Show". The food basket she lined with a  linen napkin and carried on her arm into the sheriff's office making the jail setting all the more cozy and appealing. (Imagine prisoners getting linen napkins for their food clean-up!)

But back to our non-fiction text now, this was a middle of the night meal, with no detail as to who prepared it or how elaborate it was. One thing's for sure, they couldn't call in for a pizza delivery! However, the meal was prepared and whatever food was set before them, it surely was tasty on an empty stomach. Eating in a comfortable home setting is far superior to eating in a dingy jail cell with your feet in stocks as the guards looked on.

"And rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household." Let's consider the descriptive setting that followed the service of the food. The text says they "rejoiced greatly". Now, good food can bring on some pleasant compliments expressed to the host, but the text makes clear the overriding reason for their great time of rejoicing was due to the jailer who turned from a sinful life to, "having believed in God with his whole household". The real source of joy was their faith in Christ. He and his household got saved! (See song below.)

Paul and Silas sung praises in the jail even in the midnight hour which is not your usual response for jailers during the early morning hours. How might the demeanor of the prisoners and words of the songs they sang in praise to God have made an impact on the jailer? As they completed their time together at this late night/early morning meal, perhaps Paul and Silas taught the family household a hymn before departing.

This surely was a meal and experience that was reminisced over the years by all who partook! May you also experience the blessing and benefits of reminiscing over past events and meals that have made an impact on your life.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when we consider life before receiving Christ as our Savior and contrast it with life after coming to faith, we are profoundly grateful for the changes it brought. We no longer flounder in searching for the meaning of life, our sins no longer master us, and joy replaces the fear and uncertainty of tomorrow. We rejoice greatly that our sins are forgiven and that we have an inheritance in heaven that will never perish, spoil or fade. With growing anticipation we long for the greatest fellowship meal of all time when we will be joined with Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We rejoice greatly that we who are Your blood-bought children are invited to partake not only of the heavenly assortment of food but also the fruit of the vine. The same fruitful beverage that Jesus offered to His disciples the night of His betrayal has been reserved for us in heaven where we will drink it anew with Him in Your kingdom. Keep us faithful until that most glorious eternal reunion in heaven. Amen.

We enjoy reading a magazine called "Reminisce", a nostalgic magazine, historically focused on the many memories people contribute from the 1930s through the early 1970s. It has many engaging stories about what we loved in the past and how it shaped our lives. When we were younger we saw it as the way our parents or grandparents lived, but now many of the reminiscings are very recognizable of a time when we were younger, with some of them in the seventies when we were in college and got married! (We never saw that coming when we, as a newly married couple, might simply glance at the covers of "Reminisce" as they were piled on our parents' coffee table.)

"Nostalgia" is sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. "Reminisce" implies a casual often nostalgic recalling of experiences long past and gone.

Brooksyne has a book titled "Reminisce Around The Table-Fond Memories of Food, Family and Friends". It is an assortment of short stories chronicling memorable meals, "real-life stories told by people who live them, capturing the best of the past with cherished family photos, vintage ads and favorite dinner prayers". Since many of the stories took place in the sixties, in our childhood years, we could especially identify, prompting some of our reminiscing.

Dinner Grace learned at a summer Bible camp: "Come Lord Jesus, be our guest, our morning joy, our evening rest, And with our daily bread impart, Thy love and peace to every heart."

For further thought on how we can use our hospitality for reaching unbelievers: Commentator Matthew Henry comments: "They had broken the bread of life to him and his family; and he, having reaped so plentifully of their spiritual things, thought it was but reasonable that they should reap his material things. What have we houses and tables for but as we have opportunity to serve God and His people with them?"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Got Saved"  Video  Selah

"Suppertime"  Video  Old Friends Quartet

We of course have many photos from our reunion experience the last four days. Ester had a blast being the "official" photographer as she manages the Steincross Family Facebook page.

For a good sampling of our visit to the farm she also posted many to the Old Windmill Farm page.

Steincross Family Old Windmill Farm picnic
Gathering for our picnic in front of the old farmhouse built in the 1700's. Notice the generator powered ice cream maker in the right foreground.
Click on photo to enlarge

Steincross Family 1st cousins
We had ten first cousins at the reunion this year. We are now the oldest generation and I am the youngest in the photo. The oldest, Anna Lee, will have her 90th birthday this year.
Click on photo to enlarge

Brooksyne on scooter
Brooksyne and I arrived early to meet with our hostess, Liz Fisher. It's rather common that children leave their toys and scooters in a driveway since buggies can go around such things. Brooksyne suggested that they be removed to allow for the soon approaching cars. Six year old Kaitlyn came out to the driveway and pulled her wagon out of the way. Next she picked up the scooter that had been laying down and brought it over to Brooksyne.  Kaitlyn asked her, "Would you like to ride the scooter?" She looked at her thinking "You're kidding me aren't you!" But Kaitlyn didn't give up and stood there waiting for Brooksyne to get on. "You can ride it" she repeated. How could Brooksyne not respond to her generous offer. So she hopped on and I got the photo to prove it. Brooksyne told me later, "I feel a bit safer on the scooter than I do the electric bike".

Our meal was held in a large room in the basement where they also hold their church services (as seen in the above photo). The many large daylight windows kept it from feeling like a basement. We had a meal in this same home about 15 years ago with a large Sunday School group.

Down On the Farm garden
We joined a number of extended family members during the day time for short jaunts through the scenic Lancaster County countryside including the Down On The Farm Creamery. We enjoyed delicious homemade ice cream and viewing this beautiful garden.
Click on photo to enlarge

Hershey Farms
Our main hotel for the reunion was at the Hershey Farm near the Sight and Sound Theater (seen in left background)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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