A letter to my church:
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Phil. 1:3).
Tomorrow most of us will be gathered around a big family table sharing not only food but also the full array of emotions that come with being together with extended family and relatives. If you had the option of either (1) spending all day with your less-than-perfect family, or (2) given a free pass to just show up for a 1-hour meal and then head home before anyone gets on your nerves, I know many of you would be tempted to take option 2! (Of course, my family is perfect, so I would choose option 1 every time – wink, wink.)
This is essentially the same two options facing believers and how they approach church. For many its just about showing up for a 1-hour service each week, and getting out before they brush up against another person’s humanity. This is not MainStreet. We invite people to the big MainStreet family table, where the broken and quirky aspects of our lives clink-clink against one another like the sound of silverware clinking against plates at the Thanksgiving table.
If you’ve been paying attention, God has been blessing MainStreet with new folks recently! Keri and I just enjoyed having three newer families over for lunch last Sunday. I’m always shocked when folks tell me, “This is the first time a pastor has invited me to their home for a meal.” Life long church attenders!
I’m shocked because its such a basic, natural part of the culture we’ve formed at MainStreet. From day one, we’ve been “breaking bread in our homes and eating together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:42). Most the credit goes to Keri, for hospitality is one of her spiritual gifts.
This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for how God has not just established ‘a church’ at MainStreet, but He’s knitting together a real family of faith with all the beauty and messiness that entails. Paul felt similarly about his little fellowship in Thessalonika when he wrote: “We cared so deeply that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our own lives as well. That is how beloved you have become to us” (1 Thes. 2:8).
So, thanks for sharing not only an hour each week with us, but your very (real) lives as well! Put simply: We’re only at our best when you show up to the table!
So, as you gather for the feast this Thanksgiving, close your eyes and just listen for a moment. Beneath the chatter and laughter of aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, squirrelly cousins, fussy babies in high-chairs and roaming dogs licking up scraps, can you hear it? Can you hear the sound of clinking silverware against porcelain plates?
You’ll only get to taste the feast when you’re willing to put up with the clink-clink of the dishes.
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