If your kid plays sports for BCACS, you know about end-of-the-season athletic banquets. It’s the night when athletes, parents, and coaches gather one last time to celebrate accomplishments, appreciate each other, and eat.

It’s like Thanksgiving, but with fewer logistics.

Last week, I had two athletic banquets in a row. The first was for the St. Philip cross-country team, of which my son was a member. The second was for the St. Philip volleyball teams, of which my daughter was a member.

While I was eating Mexican spinach dip on the second night, considering a second helping, I thought about a Gospel story.

John the Baptist’s disciples wanted to know why Jesus’ disciples never fasted. Jesus, of course, had a brilliant answer. “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (Matthew 9.15)

Good point.

Technically, whenever two or more are gathered in Christ’s name, the Bridegroom is there. And our BCACS family gathers a great deal in Christ’s name.

No wonder we don’t spare the calories.

It’s not just athletic banquets. Ever been to a classroom party? A band concert? A double-header on a Tuesday?

When we come together, we rarely come empty-handed. Someone is always thinking of our kids, whether it’s as simple as a cooler of bottled water or as grand as homemade cupcakes with swirls of frosting. Sometimes these mini-feasts are an organized effort, sometimes it’s a surprise, but there is always something.

Volleyball and cross-country schedules are packed with Saturday commitments, often a good hour’s drive from home. This doesn’t stop the feasting. Some good-hearted soul will organize the rest of us. A few group emails, a few helping hands, a few dozen covered containers, and voila – instant picnic for everyone.

The athletic banquets take this concept to the next level.

There is something special about seeing those tables lined with people’s crock pots and serving platters on a weeknight. Whether thoughtfully purchased or homemade, we are generous with each other.

There is also something special about bowing our heads to pray before we eat. Sometimes the prayer is unique, led by a single person. Sometimes it’s the traditional grace, said by everyone. Either way, it is a moment of reverence, acknowledging the Bridegroom, before the feasting begins in earnest.

Conversation and congratulations fill the room. We relive memories, swap recipes, take pictures and help ourselves to seconds. And when the night is over, a few folks always stay to help clear the dishes, stack the chairs and wipe the tables.

We’re lucky like that.

I doubt Jesus ever had Mexican Spinach Dip with his disciples, but I’m sure he would have liked it. Maybe even had a second helping.

Hungry for Mexican Spinach Dip? Don’t worry. BCACS mom extraordinaire Heather Worden was happy to share her recipe with our BCACS Blog readers. Thanks, Heather!

Mexican Spinach Dip
provided by Heather Worden

1 package frozen spinach
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cans tomatoes with chili peppers (such as Rotel), drained
1 12-oz package Mexican shredded cheese
1 small fresh jalapeno, seeds removed and minced (I used canned green chilies)
⅓ cup sour cream
¼ cup white onions, chopped
¼ teaspoon cumin (I added a little more)
½ teaspoon chili powder (I added a little more)
Pita or tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. The spinach may seem difficult to incorporate but as you stir, it will soften and blend with the other ingredients. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve warm with chips. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Sitting, Swaying and Sacrifice
Harking a herald of angels
Questions? Call Cathy Erskine at 269.963.1131