Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Dinner Table

The church is a place where lots of different people meet.  Although I know you probably don't think that's true.

When I was in high school, I was very involved in both school activities and church.  The school had the cliques that all large schools have--the jocks, the nerdy science kids, the orchestra groupies, the thespians, the honors students, the goodie goodies.  Yada, yada, yada.

I was in a few of those cliques.  And I happily circulated in my clique orbits . . . and sometimes out of them too.  I went to youth group at church.  And the most amazing thing happened.  Kids from all corners of the high school came together and became friends.  They were really close friends too.  They still are.  I had friends from all four corners of my high school because of the friendships birthed from youth group.

I know when people think "church" or "christian" they think WASP and segregated because that is the way it often is.  There are black churches, white churches, and vietnamese storefront churches across any given city.  Church goers often look the same--dressed nicely, no visible tattoos, modest and conservative.  Long skirts, long hair.  They all homeschool.  All of them.  :-)  Sure, that's true. Or mostly.

Adult life is not at all different from high school life.  We still circulate in our orbits.  Cool/Uncool, Vegans/Country Clubs, Sport Bars/Coffee Shops.  Birds of a feather flock together.  I'm not saying it's good, just saying that it's true.  But in the church, there's a chance for orbits to cross.  Orbits can collide and smash and destroy all kinds of social protocols.  Okay, maybe I'm pushing the image a little far.  It's true though.

Because in the church, we know that we are all really the same in light of God.  We are all nothing.  From dust we came and to dust we'll return.  We are all really small in front of a magnanimous God.  And yet, he invites us to come and eat with him.  He calls us his friend.

And that's why I can walk into our church and greet an alcoholic with a hand shake and a smile.  I can greet a divorcee with a hug.  I can exchange the peace with a Democrat and a Republican.  Gasp!  I hug a choir member and an Army General.  All ages, all colors, and all in the same struggle of life.  Most importantly, all united by Christ.

So when we walk into church this evening to take our directory photos, and I peer in and see this man and this woman sitting there, I'm chilled.

I'm honored to sit at the same table with this couple, the top official taken hostage in the Iranian Hostage Crisis and his very brave wife.  I'm honored he's consider me a friend, and I'm more than honored that Jesus calls us all his friends.


Dorry said...

EM. You wow me again. I'm not sure when I'll stop being surprised by your honesty and insight, but for now I'll just keep telling you how much I love you blog. And you.

Willa J. said...

I agree with Dorry! These are my favorite sorts of posts, Emily. And my favorite line? Definitely the last!

Molly said...

Growing up, I remember using the phrase "church family" a lot. Maybe it was because I spent a lot of time there. Maybe it was because I, as a church choir kid, spent even more time in the "adult" sections of the church at rehearsals. Or maybe it's because even though these weren't the friends I hung out with on a Friday night or sat next to in class, they were the friends with whom I shared my dreams and fears. They were (and are) my family.

Anonymous said...

I love this... so true. There aren't that many places where worlds collide but they do in church, even segregated church (though not racially, obviously!). I wrote about this once, about falafel and tater tots living happily side by side. It's one of the things I love about Washington in general, cause I think we do see a lot of diversity. Love your blog.