I went to a barbecue this week with friends. It rained, of course it did, it’s British summer time, but that didn’t stop us from having a really great time. After we had all eaten, there was a small huddle of friends sat by the chiminea, toasting marshmallows. There was a bigger huddle around a small table, laughing as they played Bananagrams. Not taking part in either of the huddles, I stood to take it all in, and smiled.
By then end of the evening, there were twelve of us around a table that seats six, all playing Bananagrams, laughing, joking and definitely not cheating…
The evening had a community-feel to it, and I felt so content. It got me thinking about contentment, relationship and community.
To be content has been my prayer recently. I’m not asking to be joyful everyday, but to be content with what I have, with where I am, and when the rain comes - literally and metaphorically.
I think I’m most content when I have company, when I’m in community. I’m beginning to learn more and more that I’m such a relational person, I’m an extroverted-introvert. Although my ‘batteries are recharged’ by spending a couple of hours on my own, gathering my thoughts and resting, I’d rather be spending all the other hours with people. I don’t mind if we go out and do something, or we just ‘do life’ together, but I’m too relational to spend too much time alone.
About a month ago, I went to a colleague/friend’s house because I needed help with preparations for a Youth weekend away in the Summer. I ended up staying for the whole morning, and for lunch too - not working, but just chatting and 'being'. It was half-term, and it was one of the best days of the break. We didn’t really do anything, but just doing life another person brings me joy.
I think that’s the way that God made us to be: relational. We are relational beings because we are made in His image and He is relational. A perfect example of this is the trinity - the three persons of the trinity live in perfect relationship with one another.
God said it Himself, “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). We often read this when preaching about singleness and marriage, but I think it’s just as an important message when it comes to community with one another. It is not good for us to be alone. We were made to be in relationship with one another. So let’s do it more often!
It’s a denominational stereotypical joke that Baptists are good at ‘Bring and Shares’. The Church I worship and work at regularly hold Bring and Share lunches, and there’s always plenty of food! I like to think that it’s not just food we’re bringing and sharing, it’s ourselves. It’s our heaviness and our joy. If you’ve read my blog post ‘Settled’, you’ll know that it wasn’t easy for me to find my feet. But I never feel as at home and part of a community, part of a family, more than when we all sit around tables to eat lunch with one another.
Not only are we made to be in relationship with one another, but we were made to be in relationship with God. I find that truth mind-blowing. The God of all creation wants a relationship with me, with you. He created me to have relationship, and then sin entered the world and it all went wrong, they sinned and sinned and then sinned some/a lot more (summarising the Old Testament here a little), and so God gave us His only son, the one He had relationship with and loved, to die for us so that we’d always be in relationship. God doesn’t need us. He has no ‘needs’. He’s the God that can do anything; the things we think aren’t possible, and the things we haven’t even thought of yet. He doesn’t need us, but he wants us. He wants relationship with you. The God of all creation wants you.