The young marrieds were getting together at the Pastor’s house. The Pastor and his wife were touted in the announcements to be the hippest. Of course everyone wants to go to the Pastor’s house. Well we didn’t really care about hip or the house. My husband and I banged synchronized elbows, “we should have an older marrieds group”. What we desired was meaningful relationships. It had been a while since we had lead small groups in our home. In the past no matter where we lived we had groups gather. We even bought the big drink dispenser and paper dessert plates in bulk.
So we offered, with the hip Pastor’s permission and approval of content we would discuss. This past Saturday only half of our group made it. So the 8 of us sat around the kitchen table and talked. If only I could have recorded the wisdom, joy and struggles we shared. It was what my husband and I had longed for. It was the body of Christ. Beautiful, broken, open, fearless. The love flowed.
I wanted to write a post about our group primarily because of one issue we noted, laughed about and worked through. One of the couples is living through a challenge with a teen aged child who has chosen a different path. We have prayed together for the offspring and parents as they seek God through this. God is certainly in it! The wife and mother found herself (funny story but I won’t get into it) at an MA meeting. Marijuana anonymous, like AA, they read the book, say the steps, share their lives. We live in Northern California where this plant prospers. Mom shared how supported, accepted and encouraged she felt among this group. As a first time visitor she anticipated having to introduce herself, “Hi my name is _____ ” and ….? I have never smoked a cigarette in my life? or it’s been over 5 years since…? I don’t recall how she handled that one but we laughed and then dealt with the truth. Why did she feel so accepted? Why was everyone so genuinely kind? She was given phone numbers to contact and she did. And they were there for her and her son. In the end we decided the church should “feel” like that. We mimicked our new “name tags” and introductions at the point in the Sunday service where you shake a neighbor’s hand. “Hi my name is _______ and I am a sinner”. If only we looked at the grace extended to us and recognized how desperate we are. If only we were willing and available to extend ourselves for what we say is important to us. If only we really needed each other. To share our struggles and victories.
I was reminded of a recent visit to the DMV which I enjoyed. Such a variety of people stuck together. Everyone sits facing forward. Watching, waiting. In need of something. Those people behind the desks, the authority who decided how they could help us or maybe not. They may smile. Maybe they have the answer or directions we need. Most likely they will collect some money. We all sit with our number on a piece of paper, waiting. I noticed everyone sits with an empty seat between them. Until they have to sit in one of those middle seats and then it is uncomfortable. The small children swinging their legs under the avocado green plastic chairs. They are in no hurry. They do demand a few moments of attention. Nothing a simple game of peek a boo can’t handle. I have a connection with these people. We need something. How similar to any Sunday gathering.
So the sinners club. We don’t just meet at church on Sundays. We don’t attend to say we did. We are a part. In the DMV. At an MA meeting. At our work places. In line at Costco. Walking laps around the lake. Dropping children off at school. Watching a soccer game. In the surgical waiting room. We are there. Some one needs me. I need someone too.
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