I sat at our Wednesday Night Dinner at church tonight and just looked around with a warmed heart. A year or so ago we add “family friendly” seating downstairs in our Great Hall. We wanted to give families a place where they could eat together (which unfortunately isn’t the family “norm” anymore) and do so in a way that didn’t stress out parents too much (i.e. worry about their kids being too loud, too messy, or getting up from the table and running around when they were done eating). We have games that kids can take back to their table or simply play on the floor together. While I’ve enjoyed watching families eat together more, I’ve become aware of something even deeper: community. Kids are sitting with each other and with other parents or adults and different families are eating with each other. Yes, families still eat together but it’s like one giant family meal. I love to listen to the children talk to each other about their day or what kind of stuffed animals they have at their house and giggle over each other’s stories.
I think about the early church that we hear about in Acts (2:44-47) where they sold their property and divided the money to share it anyone who needed it. They lived together, ate together, worshipped together and made sure no one was in need. I feel like got a small glimpse of that community as I watched as everyone shared food and laughter, helping the younger children get their plates back to the table or chasing a child that ran out of the room before their parent could get to them (OK that was my child, I was trying to help get more food to serve from upstairs J thanks for chasing him Erika!) and finally, all pitching in and picking up in one way or another. There was joy in simply being together, to being authentic with who we are and what struggles we have and laughing at the craziness of it all.
We all need community. It is a gift that God has given us. If you haven’t had an opportunity to engage in that kind of community, seek it out, you won’t regret it.