What makes a fellowship, a fellowship? As I looked back on today's fellowship at Rockport, I found myself grinning on the inside (I'm too worn out to grin on the outside!). The food was good, but we're used to that. The speed Scrabble was fun (and Debbie McClure won), but any group could play speed Scrabble. I hear that ultimate frisbee brought out the athlete in Susan Jackson (you go, girl), but at this time of year you can't drive two miles without seeing frisbee, softball, and volleyball. So why is what happened today called "fellowship"?
The obvious answer should be that Jesus Christ is the center of our lives and that there is always something special when Christians are together. When Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, then we all have been adopted into the beloved family with God as our Father. Family. That's it. That's what I saw today.
Let's start with Sunday School. I don't know about your class but our class loves to share! What a comfort zone. A good comfort zone. A II Corinthians 1:3-7 kind of comfort zone. There we are, sharing the good, the bad, and sometimes - the ugly. No condemnation, but sometimes an abundance of suggestions and always a knowing look that says, "I've been there too" or a shared tear or a hearty laugh. What is your class like? Oh yeah, let's not forget the kids. They are always so glad to see each other. I hope we're always like that!
Moving on to worship. Better is one day in your house, O Lord, than a thousand elsewhere. His house? Join me in thanksgiving that his house is not a building but a body. His house is his Holy Spirit in you and you and you and when we all come together... Wow! The days when I feel weakest in worship are still better than a thousand... hmm, let me think, than a thousand days at Cardinal baseball games!
Then we eat. But far better than the taste of the food (and it is good) is sight of different members of the body pitching in to prepare the food and then all the spiritual aunts and uncles pitching in to help make sure all the small children are adequately supplied with food and drink and seated at a table or high chair and then the clean up help. Far better is the sight of Don Farrell holding a sleeping Elizabeth Dickman. Far better is the cry (in unison) of"mommy" coming from highchair row. Far better is watching Kurt Boehm seeing what kid he can introduce table food to next. Far better is watching someone who's kids are grown holding a child so mommy can eat.
Towards the end of the love feast comes the love that is showered on the soon to be rookie parents - Rachel and Aaron. Oohs and aahs fill the room as little girls' clothes and accessories are pulled from gift bags. All the while, grandma, granddad and great grandma are watching with elation. And we shouldn't forget all the children gathered around axiously awaiting the next surprise. Their joy is contagious. Isn't it fun (enjoyable would be the spiritual word) to await becoming aunts and uncles one more time!
Before the day was out, I learned more about my brothers and sisters. Did you know that Jerry Johnson wears contacts? We spent a few minutes discussing LASIK. I've done the LASIK thingy, he's considering it. Jerry, I hope I didn't scare you away! Maybe eyes aren't the deepest of subjects, but you know, it is the kind of thing you talk about with a brother. Krista Delaney used to live in Mount Vernon, IL. Today she was going back to celebrate the retirement of one of her former teachers. We missed you guys, but once again, the small bit of fellowship today revealed to me a little bit more about you. It's good to get to know more information about your sister.
There were discussions of making certain Nancy Ponder and Bob and Doris received care. Janet Davis had to leave us a few minutes to take Michael Frizuis (sp) home. Not sure why. It doesn't really matter. I think it was Bill Eagleburger who took Billsey to get the Galayda's family car (you know, the little blue escort that is driven by most of the Rockport family at some point). Why is this blog info? It's the family taking care of each other, once again.
Did you hear about Pastor Scott yelling (yes, yelling) at some of our dear, sweet Rockport children? As he and Kim were coming back from visiting Casey and Brian Hurtgen (the new couple who just had a little girl), they noticed a few of our most precious ones lining Telegraph Road, doing who knows what. Guardian angels kept cars on the road and away from the children but they still needed someone to holler at them to get back from the road. Scott then went inside and played tattle-tale. And, indeed he should have. Next thing you know, parents are trying to figure out who's kid were guilty and then very calmly (yeah, right) pulling their offspring aside to give them a little "what for" and I'm not sure what else! It made for quite lively discussion for the next few minutes.
Before the day was out, I got to carry a scratched up Menzi from the church to the volleyball court and then passed her off to Cindy Boehm who held her until she forgot about her boo boos and went to sleep. This freed up the rest of the Loving clan to play volleyball. Menzi had experienced her first vehicular crash. Rich sat in a lawn chair holding Elizabeth and occasionally wrestling Michael while Tim and Mandy played volleyball. Later, Cyndi Loving and Rachael Johnson came across the lawn with a crying Gracie. I'm not sure how, but she too had acquired a boo boo that need bandaids. They opened a minor emergency clinic in the parsonage while Susan finished a volleyball game. I might add, it was so cute to see Michael Dickman ask his dad, "Can I sit by Molli?" as he and Molli built a sand castle together.
I'm sure I've missed something. I just have to wonder... where else can you find a family that will care for you like God's family? Parties, reunions, socials, and get-togethers translate to "fellowship" when a display of genuine, Christ-like service creates a loving and caring atmosphere. So, if you've missed out, join us next month and the next and the next... If you had to leave early, hang out a little later. You never know, you might get to change a diaper, administer first aid, build a sand castle, cuddle a sleeping baby, or even yell at someone else's kid.
I don't know about you but when it's time for the August fellowship, I plan to snatch Olivia away from Don - even if it's just for a minute!