Banana Faith

Bananas might qualify as the perfect fruit. They come prepackaged in yellow wrappers. The firm pulp contains delicious nutrients, including B2, B6, C, magnesium and potassium. Just peel, eat, enjoy, and dispose of the convenient, biodegradable container.

The banana plant thrives in tropical or subtropical regions. Bananas grow on large plants ten to twenty-five feet high. Clusters hold up to 150 bananas and smaller bunches called “hands” contain ten to twenty-five bananas.

Bananas typically grow on large plantations operated by multinational corporations. The yellow fruit has shaped the history of Central America. Corporations with household names have deposed rulers, instigated revolts, and opposed land reform. The subject remains a political hot banana in Latin America.

Most banana imports in the United States come from Central and South America along with the Caribbean. Workers cut green bananas with machetes, and trucks transport them to processing centers. Once the bananas dry, workers pack them into boxes holding forty pounds of fruit.

The laden boxes travel to distribution centers for shipment to the United States. Transfer trucks carry the green fruit across the nation. Then grocers ship the boxes to individual stores.

The economics of bananas fascinate me. I recently bought a bunch of bananas from Ecuador. The fruit was grown, picked, processed, shipped, distributed, redistributed, and sold. Everyone handling the product made a profit along the way; but I bought the bananas for FIFTY CENTS PER POUND! Is this a great country or what?!?

One can do all sorts of things with a dollar’s worth of bananas. There’s banana pudding, banana cake, banana splits, banana milkshakes, banana fritters, banana bread, banana muffins, banana tarts, Bananas Foster, banana fingers, banana pancakes, and banana sandwiches.

Despite the banana’s long list of beneficial virtues, I must confess that I am not a big fan of the yellow, slipper-shaped fruit. I find the pulp tasteless and the texture mushy. I DO like banana bread in case anyone has a loaf to share.

It’s funny how we can become knowledgeable about a product and admire its properties without personally enjoying the benefits. I suppose it’s a lot like professing the Christian faith without being involved in a local church.

Low Sunday

Last Sunday we celebrated the Easter news that “Christ is risen, indeed!” Sanctuaries overflowed as churches experienced high attendance Sundays.

The liturgical calendar calls the week after Easter Low Sunday. Historians believe the name originated in contrast to the great festival of Easter. Following the celebration of the Resurrection, churches returned to the “low” or ordinary routine of worship.

Church pastors know better! Low attendance puts the LOW in Low Sunday. Easter marks the high-water mark for worship. The Sunday after Easter ebbs at low tide. Some congregations may even experience negative numbers!

This week we continue to celebrate the Season of Easter. The risen Lord appeared to his disciples for forty days. Mary encountered Jesus in the garden. Two disciples met Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Paul reported that Christ appeared to Simon Peter, the Twelve, and more than 500 followers at one time.

According to John’s Gospel, one man missed Jesus’ appearance to the other apostles on Easter night. Unconvinced by second-hand reports, “Doubting” Thomas announced he would only be convinced by touching Jesus’ wounds.

On the Sunday after Easter, Jesus once again appeared in the Upper Room. He confronted Thomas’ doubts and displayed his wounded hands, feet, and side. The disciple knelt and professed, “My Lord and my God!

Christ responded, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

It’s a good thing that Thomas decided to attend church the Sunday after Easter. Otherwise, he might have missed the Risen Lord.

On Low Sunday, we continue to celebrate the Easter good news that “Christ is risen, indeed!”

Easter at Northside Church

Join us this Easter Sunday as we celebrate the good news of the Resurrection! Northside Church is offering five opportunities for worship, including:

  • 8:30                 Traditional Worship               Sanctuary
  • 9:00                 Contemporary Worship          Faith & Arts Center
  • 9:45                 Traditional Worship               Sanctuary
  • 10:30               Contemporary Worship          Faith & Arts Center
  • 11:15               Traditional Worship               Sanctuary

The 8:30, 9:00, and 11:15 services will be live-streamed on the church’s website. Easter animals will be present before and after the services.

This Easter Northside is returning to full seating capacity with 600 in the Sanctuary and 600 in the Faith & Arts Center for a total of 3,000 seats. Our reservation system will ensure there’s a place for everyone on Easter Sunday. Make reservations at www.NorthsideUMC.org/HolyWeek. Seats remain available for most services.

I look forward to worshipping together on Easter as we hear the ancient words that are forever new, “Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!”