[part two of the previous entry Wonder (Part 1) to come soon. I figured I’d better be obedient and write this especially since He’s clearly done some really kind things lately.]
We have the distinct privilege of having a sort of (more intentional) community at our home every Monday night. I qualify after spending time in Portland and Gardena, Ca. With people who are living out something much more intentional. And comparisons aside I believe we are attempting to live out a better belief than merely words or an ethical narrative for us.
As we read Christine Pohl’s book Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition we are learning a number of things. One of which is that the moment things become institutional “they/them” are the pronouns of choice. “Call this number they should be able to help you with that.” “Oh you are dealing with….you need to call them. They do that work all the time they should be able to supply that need.” It is increasing more difficult to welcome the stranger (philoxenia – hospitality) if we send them to ‘that/them/they.’ I am sure I will have more to say about that that is another topic.
What has been intriguing to me is the gathering and eating together. I am learning that for some they see the intrinsic beauty of gathering at the table together. I was so blessed in my travels that before virtually each meal I have with my biological family [and now on Mondays also] we take time to express one thing for the day (or something from the food) we are thankful for. I find that when my kids are in the moment they notice things and they notice people in very thoughtful ways. And their conversation with God is candid.
What I have found in our attempt to be intentional among the family are glimpses of glory. Tastes of God’s grace. In the food, the conversation, and in the preparing together. Those who buy-in find that the day is better when we are all together. We have found that we do not have to make distinctions about family and issues or our day. We simply bring those things with us. We share those like we share the Italian chicken, or incredible rolls, salad, or brownies that only seldom get made.
More importantly at least at the moment and what prompted this entry is a simple reminder of commonness. I was reminded today by Christopher Friedrich Blumhardt that we have a common issue. He said “at the present the whole world, including the wealthiest of nations, lies deep in worries in cares.” We worry in a professional sense. We worry about the day, about what others think. We worry about worrying. We worry about family members and unexpected surgeries (pray for my family in fact.) We worry about family members who need surgery to the heart that only God can do. We worry about folks in other countries that do not have. We worry about those close by who we can only watch from a distance.
But at the dinner table I have found the word commonness.
When we gather together. And we sit long enough. Putting the phones down. Bringing all our issues, idiosyncrasies, hang-ups, and celebrations. Taking all that into account but stopping and noticing. I mean really noticing. Seeing the people around you. Seeing the food (smelling, savoring…) Something is learned that is only understood in that moment:
When we sit down together. Rich or poor. Fast or slow. From the country or the big city. Whether you are liberal or conservative. Whether your worries are with all the world or my worries are as I stand in a sea of loneliness. In that moment God teaches us a tremendous lesson: the lesson of being in common.
Everybody given enough time gets hungry. When we sit together no one in that moment is different.
If we sit together sharing, noticing one another, God gives us the grace of sustaining all of us at once. In that moment while we may have a slew of uncertainties He reminds us that he is taking care of the basic necessity that is a crucial. And if I am willing to notice and pass those around me I get the privilege of being a server in their being sustained also.
It is strange how many great moments with the creator happen [or will happen Luke 14:15-24] around the table.