One of the challenges with being the smallest church in Wooster is deciding what to do when you know that six families won't be around for your Sunday gathering - and the College is still on fall break. The writer of Hebrews exhorts Believers to "not give up meeting together" and we want to live in obedience to God's Word, but six couples minus college students minus a handful of adults to serve with our kids... You get it: not many of us left.
We called an audible last week and had Sycamore over for brunch on Sunday morning. Now I'm not claiming that brunch is worship. But I know that we came together in Jesus' name and that he was with us by the Spirit. And I know that there was something undeniably good about our time together.
What was it that made it so good? I think it was a taste of unity (pun intended).
Unity can be hard to pin down. We know it when we see it, but even then we're really seeing something that has resulted from other things taking place. Part of our unity was simply that we all made the decision to show up. Another part was that everyone brought something to share at the food table. But most importantly, we had the unspoken agreement that everyone could come as they were and be known.
As I talked and laughed with people, I didn't feel the need to posture or pretend. And I was eager to hear what was going on in others' lives without an agenda. Knowing and being known - free from judgement, fear and condemnation - was what unified us.
A couple at Sycamore recently hosted a block party and I heard a number of encouraging stories from it. One that stands out is of an older gentlemen who just kept hanging out after dinner, during cleanup and into the night. Why would a stranger do that? I think it's because people are desperate for relationships that mean something, for relationships in which we can come as we are and be known.
Wouldn't it be amazing if Sycamore became a community that lived for that? What if we became a place for people to belong no matter where they've been or what they've done? How many lives would change if we did what we did during Sunday brunch for our family, friends, neighbors and coworkers - regardless of who they are, where they've been or what they've done?
I invite you to reflect on two things this week and consider how the Lord might lead you to respond:
- Is the Gospel of Jesus impacting my relationships with people?
- Do you live life with people who know the real you? If not, why not?