From Connections: Darlene's story: Looking back on Feast 2003

By Darlene Warren

BIG SANDY, Texas--The Feast of Tabernacles 2003 is now a part of the past. Everyone has returned home, and those I've talked to seem to have had an enjoyable and meaningful eight days.

I don't have the statistics showing how many people attended which Feast sites, but I do know that the Feast of Tabernacles was being observed all around the world.

If you attended the Feast in the United States, you had the choice of big-city locales, mountain retreats or seaside settings.

As usual, the Gulf Coast had its share of festival sites to choose from. Whether you prefer big crowds or small gatherings, corporate sites or sites organized by a few close friends, you can find it there.

Brethren from the Church of God tradition anticipate the Feast of Tabernacles all year long. We eagerly await the time that God ordained as a reminder of His future plan for mankind.

Oh, how things have changed since the time God first instructed the children of Israel how to keep His holy days! Instead of offering burnt sacrifices, dwelling in booths and rejoicing in our harvest, we find a group of people we can get along with and go to church every day. After church, if we're still getting along, we go out to eat. I love this church.

Interesting characters

Going to church and eating are only half the fun. The real fun is meeting and getting to know the many varied and interesting characters the Feast of Tabernacles inevitably attracts.

Do you realize that if you really work at it there's a good chance that during the Feast you could meet a prophet? How do you know if you've met a prophet? He'll tell you.

Prophets tell everybody. A prophet would never hold back anything as important as his true identity and job description.

He's not bragging; he just needs you to know that he and God have everything figured out.

There's more to look for than just prophets.

If you have the resources and the time to visit several Feast sites, your odds increase dramatically that you'll stumble onto end-time Elijahs, angels and such a never-ending line of witnesses that narrowing it down to just two could present a problem for you.

Create your own fun

If you don't have the opportunity to travel as much, you probably will just have to settle for fellowshipping with the everyday, common brethren who enjoy going to church and eating.

That prospect may sound a little boring at first, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes you just have to create your own fun.

Take the time, for instance, when my mother-in-law went to the Feast and accidentally (?) left all her church clothes at home. She had to go out and buy all new ones.

She is a creative woman, and it's a good thing she is because my father-in-law made sure she got her kicks some other way from then on.

6 cents' worth

Of course, to me there's nothing more enjoyable during the Feast than a nice walk on the beach. You see all kinds of people on the beach: young children flying kites, building sand castles or playing in the waves; teenagers lounging in the sun; old men with metal detectors searching for the mother lode.

In fact, just this past Feast two fellow Feastgoers (who had not yet met) provided entertainment for each other in a most unlikely manner.

Observing the older gentleman's daily pattern of combing the beach with his metal detector after the sunbathers had left for the day, the younger man decided to give him some incentive by discreetly dropping a penny and kicking sand on top of it alongside every chair on that area of the beach.

Well, obviously it didn't take the older gentleman long to figure out what was going on, but his spirits were rallied there for a minute and the younger guy got a little cheap entertainment (6 cents' worth) as well.

Creativity can go a long way toward having a good Feast. One of the more interesting things we did during the Feast didn't cost us a dime, not even 6 cents.

Some friends we met invited us to play tennis with their family. This family obviously knew how to play tennis. My husband, John, had played tennis before but had spent much more time playing basketball and running than anything else.

I had batted the ball around with my kids but never was very good at it.

I was pretty apprehensive about playing, not just because of our skill level but because this would be the first time John had played from a wheelchair. As it turned out, our friends took it easy on us and we had a great time learning a new way to play an old game.

We had a wonderful Feast. Hope you did too!

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