The Friday Morning Breakfast Of Champions Are Champions Of Christ

I was overwhelmed by the booming voices of men singing:

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble,

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

We women sang, too, but I have to tell you – at times my voice did tremble – so much so that I had to stop singing.

I was that moved!

My Good Friday began at 7 a.m. in such a beautiful way. I attended the Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study Forum at Augustana Lutheran Church in Grand Forks. This is a group of faith-filled faithful men who have been cooking breakfast for one another then studying the Bible together at this hour every Friday for 40 some years. On special occasions, like Good Friday, women receive a special invite.

The men served a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, juice, oatmeal-apple pancakes, sausage and blueberry muffins. Time was when they peeled apples for these pancakes, but now applesauce is the substitute. “Old traditional meets modern methods,” said Jim Lindlauf, this mornings’ pancake maker.

After breakfast, to signal devotional time was to begin, Jim Johnson, rang the brass hand bell that was donated by Olga Neal in memory of her late husband Don.  He read Psalm 116 and prayed a beautiful from-the-heart-prayer. Among his words were these, “Father, thank you for the cup of salvation in the form of your Son. We are mindful of what occurred this day so many years ago. Be with us as we prepare to celebrate Easter Sunday.”

It’s become Good Friday tradition for several of these men to don Bible times garb and in drama form go together to the Upper Room to express their feelings about what has just happened to Jesus. We heard from Simon, James, Phillip, Nathaniel, John, Peter, Matthew and Andrew.

L-R: Keith Johnson, Del Soderberg, Duane Preabt, Pastor Roger Brockmeyer, Jim Lindlauf
L-R: Jim Lindlauf, Gordon Hoeger, Lowell Nelson, Pastor Harold Luecke, Larry Heuchert

Among their words were these from Simon: “I wish I could have put my hands on that Judas! He had the nerve to kiss our Lord. What a sign of betrayal,”!

I’ll never forget that scene,” James said. “I think it was the sound of marching feet that woke me. Then it seemed the whole garden was filled with soldiers and temple authorities.”

Matthew said, “Why didn’t we pay more attention to Jesus? He told us at least three times what was going to happen to him.”

“If only we could go back in time and be ready,” John said. “We could have gathered all the people he helped and then the Pharisees couldn’t have done anything.”

As a side note: the Pharisees (separatists) were a prominent “sect” of the Jews, most of whom were enemies of Christ and the apostles according to Matt. 21:33-46 and Luke 12:1. The Pharisees often were more concerned about keeping their own traditions than God’s law.

One thought expressed after the Upper Room skit ended was, “I think the disciples felt every human emotion that we ourselves have gone through,” one man said. “Fear, rejection, remorse. But, thank God for Easter.”

“If you read the book of John carefully,” the Rev. Roger Brockmeyer added, “you’ll see that the disciples just don’t get it. Our Lord died for the Pharisees as well as the apostles.”

Naomi with the Friday Men's Breakfast Group from Augustana Lutheran Church

The comaraderie of these men from Augustana, Calvary and Redeemer Lutheran Churches, could be likened to the comaraderie of Jesus’ disciples. They look to one another for support in life and in faith.

I witnessed this in March of 1999 when I attended my first Men’s Breakfast and wrote about it. That account is on page 23 of my “In the Spirit” book with the headline: “Call it the Friday Morning Breakfast of Champions.” It was gratifying to see that column still hangs, laminated, on the bulletin board in Augstana’s kitchen.

And this morning, it was very heartwarming to see that the faith of these “Champions of Christ,” has not and will not waver.

Until Soon

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