"...they were taking their meals together...with gladness and sincerity of heart -Acts 2:44
That sums up the atmosphere last night at our new Tuesday night community dinner.
60-80 people came through and most stayed, talked, laughed, played and acted like family. It was work, but good work, for those who put it on and we hope to include more people in the joy of being able to share food, love and togetherness every Tuesday from 5-7PM; so if you are interested in serving, let us know.
Afterwards, we took some of the left over food, (which was only enough for one family) to a home in the neighborhood that I have been inviting to come to church. But so far, they have not responded to my invitations. So we did what only comes natural to those who know that 'church' isn't just something you go to...but that also comes to you. So we dropped it by the house. This family recently lost their 95 year old mother and there are three sons, two with mental disabilities and one with Alzheimers, that live in the house and on the block. I met this family back when we moved into the neighborhood, I was prayer walking the area and they were on their porch...and we started talking and that's how mission begins.
I've had this little home on my heart since then...and these dinners provide yet another way to build relationships with our neighbors; by them either coming to the dinners or us taking the dinners to them. It's just like our gathered times of worship...some come and join us...and we take it to others...it's not either or...but both.
I look forward to mobilizing some people to move from just attending dinners to begin to move out and sharing dinners. It's not invalidating the grace and beauty of eating together and setting a biig table with many chairs for all to come and eat...that is as much mission as packaging it up and taking it out of the kitchen...but both have to happen...because not all can come...some are homebound, afraid, isolated, depressed or mentally challenged.
It's like this stray dog that lives on my street...he has no home...because he is too afraid of getting too close to people. So he runs from you if you call him or go near him. But he stays on our street...because a single mom, with a child who has his own challenges emotionally, puts out a warm bed on her doorstep and food and water. I see him sleeping there...when no one is around.
He is cared for in the way that fits who he is.
I am sure he has been beaten and abused and that is why he cant be near people...but he still needs love and to be cared for...even if we can't claim him as our dog...or even if he never comes to our home.
That is missional living...
It makes the neighborhood better...no matter who is in, or out of the gathered church; because the church gathers all up in her arms...even if it is from a distance.
"You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever flowing spring.
Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
You will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes."
-the prophet Isaiah
I did see one person...who the dog came near and played with, though skittishly...it was my 9 year old son Micah. In seeing that, yet again, I saw the wisdom of Jesus in the way He lived and taught:
"...unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. And whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. -Jesus (Matt. 18:2-6).
I pray we continue to grow into child like followers of Jesus; who just love...because it comes naturally and innocently.