From Connections: Petty differences set aside for Feast '99

By Darlene Warren

BIG SANDY, Texas--Keeping the Feast of Tabernacles in Destin, Fla., this year proved to be quite an interesting and eye-opening event. You might even say it bordered on the surreal. Who would've imagined 30 years ago (even five years ago) that there would be more than a dozen Feast sites within a 200-mile strip of interstate?

As we pulled into the parking lot of the Pelican Beach Resort, we immediately spotted several people we knew. The older ones were scrubbing the bugs off their cars, and the younger ones were roaming the grounds in search of fun and excitement. It's amazing how priorities shift with age. (Obviously we aren't as old as we thought we were; the bugs are still on our van.)

As soon as we registered and found a parking spot, several young men appeared and enthusiastically offered to help us tote our cargo upstairs to our room. Thanks, guys. You made a daunting task a lot easier.

The room we stayed in was a real treat for us. It was perfect for our circumstances and beautiful in every way. Some anonymous person made it all possible. Again, thanks.

Between daily services, luaus, fish fries, dances, Bible studies, seminars, deep-sea fishing and fellowshipping, there was something for everyone to enjoy. I guess I enjoyed most the afternoon my husband and I decided to walk out to the end of a fishing pier that must've been a half mile long. Watching the sunset from that angle was especially soothing to the soul.

The young people attending the Feast in the Destin area seemed truly happy to be there. The inconvenience of having to dart from one congregation to another didn't seem to deter them too much.

Toward the middle of the Feast, frustrated at the time it took to locate her buddies in other congregations, one young lady was overheard telling her mother: "This is ridiculous! When we get old like y'all, we're all going to the same church." Amen.

I'd like to thank the young people who did so much to make this Feast a special one. Thanks for the special music you provided, for the Scripture readings, for the early-morning tae-bo sessions, for your help in the sound booth and for all the other ways you helped that went unnoticed.

Thanks especially for taking the time out of your busy schedule to stop and say, "Hello, how are you doing today?" You didn't have to do that. No one forced you. It was a privilege and a delight to share the Feast with you.

For the first time in 23 years I sat in services at the Feast with family members formerly branded as outcasts--not by God, but by their brethren. It was refreshing to see people put aside their petty differences and come together for the purpose of worshiping God.

Okay, so everything was millennial, right? Of course not. Things don't always go the way we wish they would. One man's family left the Feast when he was notified of his mother's death. Other friends flew to California to spend the Feast with their ill mother. Some people stayed home and kept the Feast because of health reasons.

What about those who spent the Feast in hospitals?

Do you see why the Feast seemed so special to me? It wasn't because things were perfect in Destin.

It was because for a few short days we were able to leave some of our daily concerns behind us and enjoy a time that pictures a better future for all of us.

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