Wednesday, November 23, 2011

potatoes, communion, and coming out of the desert.

 {photo for Country Living by Marcus Nilsson}

On Sunday, I went to worship the Creator with my husband at the church I have attended for, more or less, my entire life. I sang the songs and tried desperately to mean what I sang. I closed my eyes and ignored the distractions. (I am a people-watcher, so in church, there are a lot of distractions.) I paid attention to the sermon. I turned worn Bible pages in my hands. I said thank you in communion. I wished the cup was bigger, wished there was more bread to fill me up, but I communed and said thank you -- and meant it. When the last song was sung, I was grateful, because worship felt peaceful that day. I know some people really hate that word, the "f" word, the "feeling" terminology that sometimes I fall back into, but I just don't know another way to say it. Worship felt good Sunday.

And I sneaked out before Bible class, stopping to chat with friends and family before heading home to boil potatoes for our supper club that afternoon. I got home, lit a couple of candles, turned on my iPod, and got to work.

It felt like worship to me.

I think some people might say that skipping Sunday school that day wasn't in my best interest, spiritually-speaking. That maybe I should have stuck around, potatoes and supper club be... well, you know.

But as I teared up during the songs that played over iPod speakers,* as I gave my hand a cramp cutting up three pounds of potatoes, I felt close to the Father. The house was quiet, the dog was at my feet, and unspoken prayers left my heart instead of my lips. It was just as much worship, and it was good.

By 1:00, Jordan was home, and potatoes were in the oven. Friends trickled in bringing turkey and cranberry sauce, spice cookies and green bean casserole. We gathered around the table, giggled at the little ones, sighed over good food, exchanged compliments and funny stories. We celebrated homes bought and health secured, new babies and job opportunities. I felt so proud and so grateful.

I was watching answered prayers.

A friend graciously stayed behind to do dishes, and the last couple closed the door behind them at 4:30. I dashed up the stairs and under the covers, occasionally checking on the roast in the crock pot, because supper club wasn't the only communal activity we had going on that day.

At 6:00, more friends opened up the door and found their places in our living room, comfortably stretching on the couch and helping in the kitchen. We ate and talked about Jesus' prayer for the disciples He loved and for the world He hadn't yet met. We talked about how much He must love us, to pray for us like that, sight unseen. We talked about unity and what that looks like and if there is such a thing, if we can ever achieve what He asked for us and of us.

Our small group has been meeting for about 20 weeks, and it has been a blessing. Sunday night, as a few of us stayed behind to swap stories and laugh at jokes and share grateful thoughts, I realized, again, that my Father had heard the cry of my heart.

The community I am a part of is not perfect. I am constantly in want of more. More intimacy, more authenticity, more confession, more communion. I am not content with the way it has always been or the ways I have previously settled for.

But it does exist. Community does happen, with effort and with prayer and with purpose.

Sunday was a busy day. As I crawled under the covers, the exhaustion hit, and I realized that in the course of 24 hours, I had set two tables, opened my home to 20 people, cooked three pounds of potatoes and four pounds of roast beef. I am not saying I think that was wise. I'm not sure I'll want to host two fairly large gatherings in the same day ever again.

But it was what I needed that day.

I needed to be reminded that I have friends that love me, that communion with the Father can be found surrounded by leeks and heavy cream, that if you can learn to say no, the yesses can become so much more meaningful.

This spiritual desert I have been trudging through has had its moments, and it is my firm belief that He has been with me each step of the way, guiding me and pointing me toward the things of importance.

He has been showing me the way, although I have not always known it.

* If you must know, "A Page Is Turned," by Bebo Norman, and "I Am," by Nichole Nordeman.


Annie said...

i believe Jesus came to set up community, and i think by fostering and engaging in community with other believers, we are worshiping the God who makes that possible. so if you cutting up potatoes, with songs in your ears and a dog at your feet is worship, well, that makes sense to me.

Kelly Sauer said...

Oh Annie - what a beautiful day! No more caveats for you, though. You know Him. You know His voice. Don't apologize for where His Spirit leads you.

This has Him all over it. Do not be afraid of what others will think. He did, after all, eat with the tax collectors and sinners.