A couple weeks ago, a sermon sparked an idea for the house in my mind, which was to open up our doors on Sundays for a community Sabbath time. Yesterday was our first run at the experiment, and I have to say, it was really great. The best stories about community can't be recorded in blogs, because they're about the growth that each individual is experiencing within the community. I love seeing everyone being more fully the person that God has created them to be.
The day started at church, with my sister bravely inviting a whole host of people over. We ended up having three people from church, plus Joel, Becca's boyfriend Carleton, and the four of us who live in the house. Becca is really beginning to find her courage in making invitations, and I'm thrilled to see it!
Lexi had planned an incredible meal for the day. I haven't met anyone who plans meals quite like Lexi. We had butternut squash soup with chicken, Swedish meatballs with lingonberry, mashed potatoes, and a breaded apple dessert. All amazing, as usual.
While all of this was going on, Becca assembled our little prayer room. We have a beautiful sun room with windows on all three sides. Rachel was using it as a computer room for awhile, but she finally got a loft so her computer could go into her room and we make a space just for prayer. We spread out pillows, a keyboard, and a guitar. Becca got out colorful scarves and hung them as decorations.
I spent the afternoon planning a last minute Bible study on Sabbath, and enjoying deep conversations about what holy rest really is, and what keeps us from it. Rachel sat with me a lot of the time and helped ask great clarifying questions to help me get my thoughts focused.
Joel, in the middle of this, was making bread from scratch. I don't think he's managed it quite to his satisfaction yet, but it seems pretty tasty to me! I've been talking to Joel about how much I'd love for him to be part of ministry along with me--and it was amazing to see him really step up to it yesterday. He was in the kitchen washing dishes and supporting Lexi and Becca, out in the living room with Rachel and me adding wise comments about rest--and baking bread in the midst of all that.
Our guests arrived in time for dinner, and it was fun just to see the diversity. The leader of Macalaster's Christian fellowship, who was scribbling down questions for her group to process together that evening. A girl who had stood in front of the church that Sunday and told the congregation how she'd tried to commit suicide four years ago and been saved, and implored them to look to God for hope during the holidays. Our third planned guest is a single mom, and couldn't make it because her daughter fell asleep.
The guests were mostly only there for dinner, but there was a wonderful restful time after that. There was dancing. Community stretching. :) Fresh baked bread. Red velvet holiday milk. (I had to try it...)
The four of us and Joel got to study Sabbath in the Bible and talk about how to get into that mindset, and I was blown over by the depth that the people in our house are reaching. I don't know why it was so clear yesterday how much everyone has grown--but I feel like people have been having spiritual growth spurts recently. And it was incredible to see...Joel being willing to really engage in the community...Becca realizing that she wants to be more sacrificial with people and learn how to listen...Lexi being open to change in a way that's vulnerable and humble...Rachel growing in a desire to live without fear...me actually stepping up into leadership without my usual excuses.
We all had to laugh at ourselves at the end of the day, because we actually did a pretty lousy job of resting. It almost felt like a day when we saw what the opposite of resting was for most of us. But, despite the mad rush of cooking and cleaning and dish washing and Bible study planning, it was a pretty wonderful community day. We may learn how to rest yet one of these days. :)