By Not Known
Last Tuesday we had a wonderful church picnic at the East Coast Park. Nearly a hundred adults, youths and children had a blast – worshipping together, playing games, eating and just hanging out with each other in a relaxed setting. We worshipped God as we gazed upon sea and sky. We sat under shady trees and enjoyed the gentle breeze off the coast. It was great to see ORPC folk showing off their pets, flinging frisbees and enjoying yummy food together. People of all ages and different cultures just having fun. I got to meet people I had never chatted with before, and it was tremendous to be able enjoy each other’s company for a few hours on a public holiday. Have you noticed that even guest workers from oversea get together on public holidays to play cricket or just hang out together? It seems so natural to relax and have fun!
I think we need more of such social events where we can all chill out and mix. A church of about 1000 is huge, and very often worshippers come for service and leave soon after without much meaningful conversation. But at the beach we were relaxed and the dynamics so different. In my brief devotions I shared that Jesus is the head of our spiritual family, that we are brothers and sisters, and we are to care for, love and help each other to grow up. But before this nurturing process can begin I think we need to appreciate each other as human beings first. That means getting to know each other in basic ways: asking each other’s names, what we do by way of work, where we live, our family backgrounds, our interests, etc. Only when we have shared these “level one basics” can we slowly decide whether we want to share more of ourselves at a deeper level. Of course you probably aren’t going to share your deepest thoughts within 3 hours, but at least it is a start which will hopefully accelerate with more interaction.
One thing I said during the devotions is that church should be a place where we feel safe. I demonstrated this by falling backwards and having four others catch me before I hit the ground. We should be able to entrust ourselves to our spiritual family to “catch” us when we stumble spiritually, or emotionally. When we walk through a storm, they will journey with us. When we stop because we are so exhausted, they will wait for us. When we cry they will sit and cry with us too. Do we feel safe in our small groups, among our church friends? Safe enough to spill our guts? Safe enough to speak our deepest thoughts? Safe enough to reveal our deepest fears? Safe enough to admit our mistakes and say “sorry”? God does not intend for us to travel alone. We need each other. Let’s be a safe zone for each other.