1. The food.
Not all the sign-up sheets are in yet, but a sampling so far includes promises of Swedish meatballs, slow-cooked ribs, German potato salad, greens, dirty rice, banana pudding, Italian ice, cracker pudding, sweet potato pie, almond bars, pizzelles, and even a few open-ended commitments like “Something Nigerian” and “Something Argentine or Mexican.” The Taste of Reconciliation gives people an opportunity to share their own favorite cultural foods, and to experience the favorites of others.
2. The fellowship.
If you’re looking for a place to have a good meal and quiet conversation, this is not it. But if you can appreciate being surrounded by the joys and noise and flavors of diverse people who are all united in a desire to understand each other better, the Taste of Reconciliation is a good place to start. It’s a community event in the real community sense of the word.
3. The family-friendliness.
Taste of Reconciliation is something whole families can experience together. Not only are there plenty of games for the children, but the food and fellowship present wonderful teaching opportunities for families. Let your children watch you try a dish you’ve never had before. Let them learn from your example when you express interest in another culture. Let them be impressed (though they may not show it) when you offer to help by getting someone else a plate of food or a glass of lemonade. Then, after the food and fellowship and worship service—maybe in the car on the ride home—ask them questions about their experience, what they liked and didn’t like. Could be an enlightening conversation!
4. The freedom.
True reconciliation is difficult, lifelong work, but it leads to real freedom. People who let go of old hurts find themselves released to discover new joys. “To forgive is to set the prisoner free,” says a proverb by Lewis Smedes, “and discover the prisoner was you.” This kind of freedom and joy is celebrated at each year’s Taste of Reconciliation, culminating in the 6:00pm worship service led by representatives from black, white, brown, yellow, and mixed churches in Glenwood (IL) and surrounding communities. It is a profound blessing.
For details about the 2010 Taste of Reconciliation (July 25, at Living Springs Community Church), check out the Event page on Facebook.
Update: Video highlights from the 2010 Taste of Reconciliation are available at this post—Colored People: Highlights from Taste of Reconciliation 2010.