I keep a dish of candy on my counter.
I know it’s a temptation but I don’t keep it there for me. It’s for visitors.
I love it when friends of my kids drop by. They may show up at anytime, unannounced and I like it that way.
This was a transitional summer. There was a need for people to gather, bond, reflect, recollect and just be with one another. Life was changing and everybody knew it. Nobody wanted to stay in the past but there also was a tinge of sadness to be moving forward into the future.
What if things would never be as good as this time?
What if things would be bad?
All these lingering questions loomed in the minds of these sweet kids who frequented my home. Some talked about it, others didn’t. Wrestling with the unknown is a private kind of thing but the comfort of company always soothes the soul.
Ah, the purpose of the candy dish!
It was the center of attention. The place where people stopped. A connecting point. The sweets enticed them, causing them to pause, to gather, to bond. Conversations ensued. Laughter erupted, tensions were eased. Finding life in shared minutes. Finding time together over a candy dish.
Inevitably the kids would eat all the candy, sheepishly apologizing to me I’d let them know it was really okay! They would return another day only to find the dish would have been refilled. Laughter, bonding and life surge all over again.
I realized how much of a “tribe” kind of person I am. I need a people. To me the whole idea of tribe represents the concept of God’s living presence in the bonds of relationship. Intentionally coming together to bond, relate, share, laugh and love and inviting God to move in the midst of this.
I love creating space where people come to gather and to simply be. In all my work this is what I love the most. Making space for others to let their guard down and experience something simple and powerful at the same time. The mystery of “together”.
God shows up when this happens!
I see Him there. Honest thoughts and feelings spill out to find truth or encouragement. Love gets exposed in the laughter and hugs. Oh it’s not always a perfect environment but the goal is to be a place of ease, acceptance and truth. At least this is what I want my tribe to feel when they encounter my candy dish home. (And when I mean “my tribe” I mean any people that cross my real or virtual threshold.”)
To provide a place to find comfort, encouragement, rest, acceptance, hope and to simply be.
Sharing food accompanied some of Jesus finest work. Turning water into wine at a wedding, a few fish and loaves of bread became a meal for thousands with His touch, healing a child He instructs her family to feed her, eating supper for the last time with His closest friends before His death. There is a connection with gathering around food and God’s work. I don’t think the literal food was the point in any of these events. Instead, it was the connecting point between one another. Both man and one another and man and God.
I think one of my favorite moments with Jesus is when He met His friends on the beach for a meal of smoked fish. He had already rose from deaths grip. His friends were still in a state of confusion and grief. He seeks them out intentionally, mysteriously and miraculously on a beach and says “Come and have breakfast.” (See whole story John 21: 1-25) Can you imagine? They had one more opportunity to talk to Jesus face to face. To share their fears, recollect all that had happened, to bond, to reflect, to be with one another. The meal was the connecting point but the presence of the Lord satisfied the hunger. How that must have meant so much to this tribe of friends!
The power of shared time.
Yes I do believe God is present in these times. I do believe He has created me with a hunger for “tribe” deep within my belly. I do believe He desires me to create space for Him to be among us.
So I’ll keep my candy dish out.
How about you? Do you long to bond, connect to see God moving among people? Do you desire to create “spiritual” space with others?
Any candy dish will do.