By Paul Koch –
One of the most fantastic developments over the past decade has to be the growing prevalence of Taco Tuesday’s across our country. Now sure you may be convinced that technological advancements in the touchscreen smartphone or CGI special effects on the big screen are far more important but perhaps you haven’t really embraced all the things that Taco Tuesday can be.
For the uninitiated Taco Tuesday is happiest of happy hours. It usually occurs for the lunch crowd at little Mexican restaurants where you buy one cocktail or beer at regular price and you get all the tacos you want for $1 a pop. So I can get a bourbon and 5 incredible beef tacos along with chips and salsa for under $12! Now the joy of this usually leads me to having another bourbon, but I’m still out the door for under $20. This simple pleasure colors my whole day, I wake up early to head off to the gym and the first thing I think of is tacos. As I move through my morning rituals I notice that everything has an air of anticipation about it for I know that by noon I’ll be sitting in a cantina with some friends working our way through some of the best $1 tacos you’ve ever tasted.
You see Taco Tuesday has become part of a delightful routine for a small group of pastors in Southern California. For the majority of us, like most pastors, our work week begins on Tuesday and so the anticipation of $1 tacos makes it an easy way to start the week. But those tacos come as a sort of reward to hard work. Our gathering together on Tuesday’s begins with the Word of God, we come together not to simply feed our bellies but to study the Word. We look at the assigned lectionary readings for the coming week and work through the texts in the original language. Sometimes we do this with a high degree of competence but most often we slug through almost as if we have forgotten all we learned in our Biblical Readings classes at the Seminary. But still we press on.
Through this some important things have begun to develop. You might be tempted to think that our collective grasp of Greek syntax has improved, and I suppose it has, but the real benefit is that we’ve become that iron the Proverbs speaks about when it says “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Pr. 27:17). Together we challenge, frustrate, comfort, encourage, embarrass, and inspire one another. We laugh out loud; never miss the opportunity for public ridicule and yet still seek out the advice of one another. We’ve become confessors and confessees, we’ve preached in each other’s congregations (Advent and Lent) and tried to be of comfort when a brother is hurting or confused.
This group didn’t just happen by accident. It was an intentional thing. We met to study the Word, we met because we all believed that we would be better pastors if we were not alone. Look if you knew this bunch of guys you would know how vastly different our congregations look from the outside. We’ve got the whole gamut from praise bands and screens to organ music and chanting and just about everything in-between. But by gathering around the Word, by beginning there in our common confession of faith we have found that we could be much more than lone rangers making a stand for our little lot of the kingdom.
Together we found that we were full of rich Word’s for each other, Words outside of our own heads, Words outside of our own desires and schemes. Together I hear the Word of forgiveness upon the lips of a brother for my failure as a pastor; together we hear the Word of guidance and encouragement for the task at hand. Together pride and arrogance are often checked as I’m reminded again what it is to love as Christ has first loved us.
And just when you didn’t think it could get much better when we’re sitting around the table with our books spread out and coffee mugs almost empty, in that natural lull in the conversation right around a quarter till noon someone will utter, “So, how about some tacos?” And off we go.
Sitting on that barstool waiting for our first round of tacos, I feel like I could stay there all afternoon. In fact that is exactly what I want to do. However there are visits to shut-ins to be made, Bible Studies to prep and services to outline. So as I make my way out of the cantina I am thankful that I have men willing to join me for Taco Tuesday and somehow the week that lies before me doesn’t seem so bad knowing that next Tuesday we will do it all over again.
I hope that all of you have some form of Taco Tuesday, some consistent Word outside of yourself to speak the truth in love to you. I hope you have a brother or sister to challenge, frustrate, comfort, encourage, embarrass, and inspire you.
Taco Tuesday 4 Life!