Gathering With Friends
A while ago, when I was trying to spread the word for our event tonight, I named the event “Serving Dinner at the Cold Weather Shelter.” And that’s true. Tonight we are going to gather at the Mountain View Cold Weather Shelter and serve chili and salad and cornbread. But something about what I named it feels so impersonal. Because we’re not going to serve strangers. We’re gathering to share food with friends. People we see all the time. Friends who are a part of the community gathered on Sunday night.
I think often I want to talk about “serving” because it makes me feel good. Like, “Look at me, I’m amazing. Aren’t I such a good person?” And, sure, I do think that things like spending time together at the shelter matter. But it’s much less about serving and much more about gathering around with friends. Hearing about one another’s days and sharing in one another’s ups and downs. Celebrating and commiserating and listening to each other. Really the meal is just the vehicle for gathering. It’s the community and relationships that matter.
The same goes for Front Porch. Yes, we are a dinner church. Yes, we have a meal on Sunday nights. But the point is not to have a meal. The point is to share in a meal. To grow in our relationships with one another and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. To live lives that are less about “me” and more about “we,” but that also recognize that every person has a “me” within that. We’re not gathering this Sunday because the 49ers are in the Super Bowl (go Niners). But we do get to gather together tonight. To share in one another’s stories and one another’s lives. And for that I am grateful.