I’m feeling blessed today…and I can’t stop laughing.
First the blessed part:
We had our first faith gathering yesterday!
Steve and I gathered around our coffee table, lit candles, set bread and wine just beyond THAT DOG’s reach (she can get very Holy when given the opportunity), and bowed our heads as Steve prayed. As strange as it sounds to be doing church with just two people, it was nice to be in our home, setting aside this time to be together with each other and God. We knew that December 29th is not the optimal time to start a new gathering if crowds are your goal, but that’s the date God gave me as I was driving to Target a few weeks ago thinking it might be fun to start something like this…in April. I asked “when should we do this?” (meaning, when in April?) and He said, “December 29th.” We try not to ignore promptings like this, even if they seem based on an entirely different timeframe, so we went with it. And indeed, right from the start, yesterday felt like something wonderful. I couldn’t stop smiling, and closing my eyes and whispering Thank You under my breath.
A few minutes in, we heard steps on the front porch. It was our friends Paul & Pascha. If you’ve read my first book, you “know” them: they were my first small group leaders, the ones who did the early heavy lifting in helping me find my faith. They have two young sons now, who were with them. Paul said, “I brought my guitar if you want me to bring it in…” My eyes lit up. I love to sing, but I’m bad at it. Steve and I have ZERO musical skills, so we’d decided that if God sends musically inclined people, we’ll sing in our faith community, and if not, we’ll worship in ways that align with the talents we have. The Bible suggests that God gives us different gifts with with to bless each other, so our plan is is that we’ll adapt to what God arranges each week, looking forward to some surprises. This was a FUN one, and it made us glad we’ve left things kind of bendy in our planning.
(It’s fun to sing with friends. I forget that sometimes when I’m busy being a grown up.)
I’d planned a talk on Psalm 29, which I adapted on the fly to be helpful to younger listeners. I discovered how fun it is to have smart, spiritually-inclined kids add their thoughts and reactions to what you say. I’ve always loved the interactiveness of the Black church tradition, where people say “AMEN!” and things like that during the sermon…this felt like a Boston version of this, where ideas are tossed out and the talk builds in ways and directions beyond the basic foundation laid by the speaker. It was really energizing.
We sang the Our Father prayer, and then spoke the Our Father prayer. Steve closed us with this from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
We TOTALLY forgot to offer to pray for individual needs…a rather comic omission, given that personal prayer is one of the things we believe is most wonderful about this kind of faith community. That’s our “thing to do better next week” item :)
Paul and Pascha are part of another new church community that is evolving from our old church family. Their presence here yesterday felt like having our godparents show up at our graduation: a blessing and a reminder of roots and family and connectedness, looking ahead to growth and adventure and new horizons. We’re all branching out. It feels great to see how many good things God is bringing out of our family. :)
I’ll post my original sermon here later today, along with the hints I have so far about what we’ll talk about next Sunday. It will be January 5th, Steve’s 40th birthday, so we might include something FESTIVE in our gathering. (Is 10:30am too early for cake???) If you’re looking for a place to explore God and celebrate life with friends, come on by. (Email me & I’ll send directions)
Oh…and the reason I’m laughing today?
I was working in bed this morning with coffee & my laptop. Feeling happy & getting ORGANIZED for this accomplished day I had planned. I completely forgot that the plumber was coming. I ended up greeting him in my scrubbiest pajamas, with full-bed head and glasses, then touring him through the house and trying to discuss various pipe-routing options. So. Very. Awkward.
Every time I try to set up my life to be accomplished and orderly (the way I assume each of you live all the time) something like this comes along to remind me: this is God’s life. I’m just living it :)