The Little Rock Bible Study on the Letter to the Hebrews finished up last night and many of us went to a nearby diner for coffee and dessert. It was proposed that we not discuss religion or politics while we ate. Fine, but what's left? News of other people's ailments, all strangers to me.
The women in our party gathered around the dessert case at the diner's entrance. I didn't see anything appealing - and I like diners, really! I decided to wait and see what the menu offered. After we were seated, I got uncomfortable with how loud my group was. It was after 9 o'clock, so there were not too many other patrons. A young child was out with her mother as well as some teens on their own. But my group strived to be the life of the party. What were they like in their younger years?!
The Bible study leader had already said that he would require a few weeks off to recover before deciding on the next study program. Everyone understood. He asked a couple who had hosted the group in their home in the past whether they would be open to welcoming everyone again for the next program. Gesturing towards me, they said they would now that they've seen and met everyone who would be involved. I'm the new one, you see. The others have met consistently over the years.
Because the clock was approaching ten and I was finished eating, I got up to leave. Everyone wanted to make sure I would be interested in attending their next study. I said that I would decide after reading about the announcement in the bulletin and they quickly said, "Oh, no, it won't be printed in the bulletin. We have your number; we'll call you."
So, that's how it is. A largely closed group that opens up occasionally to new members. Provided the new members "check out," they're in. Gosh, I'm glad I kept my mouth closed most times and rarely said what I was thinking. A part of me understands the caution: theirs is an urban parish with dubious elements. The elderly are obligated to protect themselves both physically and emotionally. It's only prudent. But what would the pastor think? And how would I feel if I hadn't made the cut?