For about five years or so our family hosted a gathering of friends and new friends at our home nearly every Thursday night. We’d laugh, eat, play, work, learn, cry and generally live life together. Our church calls them “microchurches.” A lot of different types of people have come and gone throughout the years. Some became lifelong friends while others were more difficult to connect with – or we just plain didn’t get along.
I will never forget one of the sessions we went through when we were training to be leaders of a group. The pastor said, “if you want to host a microchurch, you have to be willing to have your carpets ruined.” So my wife and I knew going in what we were getting into, and we were ok with that because we believed in the beauty and joy of what you get to see in relationships.
We were reminded of this nearly every week when we’d hear our kids say some version of “the microchurch kids broke my….” It’s a great teaching opportunity with kids. Or when we’d see a new stain on the carpet. Or when our young kids would be up past 10 o’clock on a school night because we were counseling a couple going through a rough time. All of these were tangible reminders that when you want to live life together, with lots of different types of people, as Jesus calls us to, it’s messy.
One night we had an especially poignant reminder with a beautiful, unplanned outcome. On one side of our yard is a large patch of beautiful wildflowers. They’re blooming right now. We love them. My wife especially loves them. Like so much that she scolds the kids when they step on them even though there’s like 10,000 of them.
Well, that night as the adults were meeting the kids decided that ripping up huge swaths of them and playing with them was a great idea. The babysitters apparently agreed. When we came outside after meeting there were flowers in kid’s hair, flowers in babysitter’s hair, flowers strewn all over the yard and huge piles of flowers pulled up by their roots. You can imagine my wife’s initial emotions.
So what would we do?
Get angry? Punish the kids and the babysitters? Yell and scream? Of course our human emotions draw us there – and it’s natural to feel that way when we’re trying to live with people who may not do things the way we want.
We made bouquets and sent some home with everyone. Because what else are you going to do?
When the beautiful flowers of our lives get ripped up by the rowdy and amazing people we invite to join us on the journey, we don’t punish them for it. We send them home with a bouquet. And you know what? They’ve grown back better than ever. That’s the way of radical togetherness.
Grace and Peace,