Bring a plate, said the invitation. Jenna thought through her plates in the cupboard, not sure which one she would choose. Potluck lunch to welcome Jenna and Mike to our street, all neighbours welcome, bring a plate the neat notice read. Wow! This was going to be fun, and how kind of people to organise a lunch so quickly so they could meet their new neighbours.
So far in this new city they’d only met people from Mike’s work, but now they’d bought their little house in the outlying suburb and they looked forward to settling in and becoming part of the community. A couple of neighbours had introduced themselves on their moving day and now this invitation made it look as though they would be welcomed and included in the community.
Jenna started to plan what she would make. She was an expert at sausage rolls and she could make them the day before. Or perhaps her apple muffins would go down well.
There was a knock at the door and she opened it to find Suzie from three doors along.
“Just checking that you and Mike are OK for Saturday,” Suzie said standing at the door. “All the arrangements are made and you know where we are. You two just need to turn up and it will be great for everyone to meet you.”
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Jenna. “I was just wondering what food to bring. Would muffins be OK or……”
“No, no, you don’t bring anything,” exclaimed Suzie. “You are the guests of honour, this is for you, and you just come. You’ll get plenty of chances to contribute at other times when other new people come.”
“Wow, that is nice,” Jenna relaxed. Now there was even more reason to look forward to the day. She offered Suzie a cup of tea, but Suzie was in a hurry.
“Thanks, but I’ve got others to see. I’ll see you on Saturday, come at twelve, and that will be great.” She waved a cheery goodbye and continued walking up the street.
As Jenna carried on with her work she wondered what the new neighbours would be like. Were there many Christians among them? Could someone help them find a church? Or would they be the ones to share Christ’s love in this new neighbourhood.
Saturday came and Jenna and Mike went to Suzie and John’s on the dot of twelve. Jenna was carrying two willow pattern plates from her cupboard. She had explained to Mike that they weren’t to take any food, and she hoped these plates would do for whatever they were needed. She handed them to Suzie.
“These are our plates,” she explained. “I hope they are all right.”
“What?” Suzie was mystified.
“The invitation said to bring a plate.” Jenna couldn’t understand the look on Suzie’s face.
“Oh Jenna,” she cried. “That’s just the term we use for a potluck meal. Everyone brings a plate of food to share, and we don’t know what is coming so it’s quite exciting, and there’s always enough for everyone. You don’t bring a separate plate. When I told you not to bring anything, I meant it; you don’t bring food or a plate. It’s our pleasure today to do that for you.” She put the plates on the sideboard for Jenna to take home later.
Jenna turned bright red, but soon they were caught up in introductions and her embarrassment passed. They looked like a great bunch of people, and she was pleased to see her shy husband talking animatedly to someone called Dave. They would find some good friends here, she decided. Thank you Lord.
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