Where’s the Ham? Thoughts at Easter Time

Random thought: Why do we eat “Pagan” Ham at Easter time? Most people have never heard of them, unless you are from Southeast Virginia and know that these hams (from Gwaltney – now owned by Smithfield Hams) are named for the Pagan River – not for people who worship objects other than our God. We typically buy one for the family gathering on Easter afternoon. We looked and couldn’t find a Pagan Ham this year. I guess we will have to settle for some other form  of the non-Kosher animal this Holy Season.

Speaking of Smithfield…

So, we were in the town of Smithfield, Va. (home of the world famous Smithfield Ham) a few months ago. We were on Main Street, in a lunch spot that actually has “Smithfield” in its name. The Smithfield Ham Shop was right next door. We were looking at the menu. I had settled on a club sandwich that included (you guessed it) Smithfield ham.  The waitress proceeded to tell us that they were out of Smithfield Ham. Out of Smithfield ham! How can that happen?!?

Talk about keeping the main thing – the main thing!  People… when we come into your shop, in your town, we don’t want no stinking honey ham, black forest ham, Cajun ham or even a hamburger. I can get those anywhere. I came for the salty, dense beautiful ham that put your town on the map. Even the Queen of England orders one each year at Christmas time. How can you blow this one? It is the key ingredient in a half dozen items on your menu. The massive Smithfield processing plant is just across the creek. Thousands of pigs make the ultimate sacrifice every week in that place.

OK, here comes the brilliant transition. Having visited about 40 different churches last year, I have to say that many of them have forgotten to keep the main thing the main thing. They are like a ham sandwich shop without any ham. Nice place, great decorations, lots of variety but no ham.

When did we get so far away from the Great Commission? When did church services become little more than religious ceremonies?  Where is the passion?

Of course, not all of the churches I visited were like that. Some still get it. They are focused on lifting Jesus up and pointing people to him. They worship with passion. They speak in everyday English – knowing that on any given Sunday someone is there who doesn’t know about church. And, for the most part, they are the ones that are still growing.

So in this season of Easter Bunnies and colored eggs, let’s make sure we keep the main thing the main thing!


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