A few days ago Pastor Blake mentioned to Randy and me that Pastor Gabe had recently noted the letters NAOBC could be rearranged to read BACON! (What a clever anagram.) To NAOBC and Bacon, go one step further, add the letter “E” for encouragement, and you get The BEACON.
For so many of us, just hearing the word “bacon” conjures up the wonderful aroma and defines it. My aromatic memory bank goes back sixty plus years to my childhood when we drove from Alabama to visit my grandparents in western Kentucky. They were tenant farmers. “Daylight Savings Time” was not in their vocabulary. They arose early 24/7/365 to attend to the many chores that afforded them a place to live – an old country house with no running water (only a cistern on the back porch), no indoor bathroom, and for lighting in each room, a single bulb hanging from a long cord in the middle of the ceiling. To assuage the night chill in the winter months, there were old-timey space heaters in the bedrooms, causing great angst to our parents, fearing we would get too close to them when huddling around for evening warmth wrapped in old hand-made quilts. Those are the peripheral memories. The cherished memory is waking in the early dawn, magically encompassed in heavy wool blankets during the night, feeling warm and cozy in our beds, and hearing the muffled murmur of our parents’ and grandparents’ voices catching up on life in the kitchen, with the wafting smell of frying bacon and percolating coffee. Such are the memories that gave us assurance that we were loved, that we were cherished, and that we were safe and cared for.
So what are memorable “aromas” that define NAOBC? We are a congregation made up of singles, widowed, newlyweds, and couples who have celebrated decades of marriage. We are a combination of small and very large families. Many families in our church are bi-racial. We are a church that cares for the very young, and those who have fewer tomorrows than yesterdays. We are a friendly church. A church that presses in and fellowships beautifully together, and is eager and ready to welcome newcomers. We are a singing church. Worshipers enthusiastically raise their voices and, many, their hands in praise and thanksgiving to the beautiful melodies, harmonies, and rhythms to hymns such as “Behold Our God.” We are a giving church. Local and foreign missions (The Great Commission) are important to us. We set lofty monetary goals to that end. We are a church that reaches out to the hopeless and witnesses to the lost. We are a church that unashamedly stands on the inerrancy of God’s Word. We have a staff who loves its congregants, and who love one another, and pray diligently to follow God’s leadership in every aspect of its ministry.
Pastor Bill has preached several Sunday sermons about our worship being a sweet aroma to our Heavenly Father. He has illustrated it by quietly stepping back, pausing, and taking in a deep breath as though smelling the most beautiful, exotic aromatic rose or gardenia. This object lesson is impactful. It allows us to visualize our scent that ascends to heaven. Dr. Cook said there are so many in our congregation who “give off such a beautiful fragrance of kindness, and consideration, and forbearance…. There’s just a scent of encouragement all about them.”
I am thankful for our body of believers at NAOBC, the encouragement of The BEACON, and bacon! I trust that our church continuously presents a fragrant offering to God. When people outside our church hear us refer to NAOBC, does it exude an aroma like a sweet perfume? That is my prayer.