Spontaneous entertaining. Two words, that in previous years did not link together in my vocabulary. Probably because I'm a recovering perfectionist. And a planner. So entertaining to me has always been something that I planned 1-2 weeks in advance. Selected guests to invite, a menu, cleaned our house, and made sure our home and us were all "presentable". I was so focused on putting my best foot forward, from food, to my home, to my appearance and as a result thought entertaining was only something that was done with lots of planning and preparations. As a result of Christ continuing to work inside me, making me more like Him, by His grace, I am starting to see (and enjoy) entertaining under different circumstances... done spontaneously. Today as I was starting to prepare dinner I realized that we had more than enough food for a couple of extra people (as we most often do). So I mentioned to Jeremy that it would be fun to have someone over for dinner. Within minutes he had called and invited one of our friends over for dinner, and within an hour that friend arrived at our house. Our home wasn't cleaned, or even straightened up, we were still in our sweats and unshowered after a lazy Sunday, and the menu wasn't "special", but it was meaningful. We enjoyed a good meal, good conversation, and good fellowship with our friend.
This is something that I want to get a lot more intentional and regular with. These days we are all so busy. Our calendars are all so full. Sometimes it seems like a burden to fit one more activity/ commitment into our schedule. But we eat dinner at our table together every night. We almost always have extra food, and we'd love the opportunity to bless others with a home cooked meal, and with meaningful conversation.
This all goes along with our high value of community. Of trying to build relationships with friends, neighbors, and co-workers that are like family. Relationships in which we can be ourselves, let people see the good and the ugly within us. Relationships in which people meet our needs, and we meet the needs of others. Relationships that sharpen us, strengthen us, and encourage us. Relationships in which we experience the character of Christ... where we serve and are served, where we forgive and are forgiven, where we are shown and show unmerited grace, and unconditional love. This is what we have spent a year and a half building with our community group, with brothers and sisters with whom we "do life". And after a year and a half we are just chipping the tip of the iceberg in terms of getting real with each other, being vulnerable about our faults and weaknesses, and being willing to say the hard things that are ultimately for the good of each other. I think that spontaneous entertaining is just one more step to being in each others lives on a daily basis, and not just on a compartmentalized Sunday at church, and Wednesday at community group kind of a way.
Lord, thank you for community, for the Church, for your body. Thank you for creating us for relationship, with each other, and with you God.