Last night, I went over to the parsonage for dinner and a planning meeting for our Worship Together service (that's our service that blends a Christian Ed component from Faith Inkubators, along with various arts projects, a Faith Five time of sharing, a song that we both sing and sign, and Communion). What a treat!
It feels like a long time since I've sat down to share a home-cooked meal with people. It hasn't been, of course, but instead of being a nightly event, it's reduced, depending on various schedules.
Last night's meal was wonderful. Our pastor made a lasagne and homemade baguettes--perfect with the wine we opened. We had a big salad and chunks of pineapple. And for dessert, gingerbread! I ate and ate and ate.
Even more wonderful was the conversation. We talked about what's going well with the service. We agreed that we love how involved the children are in the service; each week, it's children who serve communion. And they take it very seriously. Last week, I reflected on the young man who several years ago, you might not have trusted him with the bread and the wine, because he was that hyperactive. But he volunteered to give out the wine, and he did a great job. I like to think it's because at our church, we've given him jobs to do, like helping with VBS, and we've hoped for the best and coped with what comes our way. And now, he seems to be maturing into someone with a chance. That feels good.
We also agreed that we love how deeply we get to know each other. We share our weekly highs and lows, which is a much more in-depth sharing than what happens at our passing of the peace. Through the week, as I pray, I have specific needs of my church family in mind.
Our pastor noted that this service isn't for everyone. It's participatory and deeply relational, and it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Part of me wants to insist that church should be this way, that it shouldn't be a matter of sitting and listening and essentially being an audience member. I also know that if we force the issue, people will stop coming. It's a rule that's wise to learn early: meet people where they are.
We made plans for what we'll do when our pastor takes his sabbatical in January and February. We've taken turns organizing and leading the service, so we're not unused to this idea. I volunteered for the last two weeks of January, when we'll do the second Genesis story.
And then, it was time to leave each other. Not for the first time did I wonder what it would be like if we lived closer to each other. Could we organize our lives around a communal meal that happened more often?
But of course, that's not our lives, and so we got into our separate cars and headed back to our individual houses. I slept the satisfied slumber of one who has truly communed with others.
feeling the feelings…
6 months ago