The Rev. CeCe Armstrong, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Lantana, Fla., opened the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board meeting here Feb. 5 by tossing a big salad.
Preaching from Ephesians 2:11-22 on Christian unity, Armstrong said she had only five minutes to present a picture of what it might look like to come together and be one. And so she prepared a salad.
“America was once considered to be a melting pot,” she said as she proceeded to throw ingredients into a large bowl. “But lately and obviously in the word of God, the intent is that we become more like a salad bowl. There are all sorts of greens coming into the salad, each bringing whatever we have to offer.”
Identifying church members varyingly as oranges, squishy tomatoes, cranberries, cheese and nuts, Armstrong said that these different components “get tossed together in all kinds of things.”
“What’s interesting about the love of God is that at some point the Holy Spirit is poured out over us, in us, through us. It then becomes our responsibility to be mixed in with everyone with the Holy Spirit blending us,” she said. “Then, as the church, it becomes our responsibility to share this salad—this mixture—with so many other folks so that they can taste and see how good God really is. Where are you in the salad? Consider that as you consider God’s business.”
Armstrong was called to her current position through For Such a Time as This, a program launched by the Presbyterian Mission Agency in 2009 to renew and grow small churches and help them to become healthy, missional congregations.
Joining her in worship leadership was Mary Jorgenson, a member of the mission agency board and moderator of the Churchwide Coordinating Team of Presbyterian Women. Jorgenson and Armstrong used the liturgy written by Carmen Rosario—an honorably retired Presbyterian teaching elder and a member of the Presbytery of New York City—for Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday, the church-wide special emphasis scheduled for March 9.