by Barbie Perks
We’ve spoken many, many times about how the Covid-19 pandemic robbed us of fellowship and community. And how slowly getting back to ‘normal’ life has changed how we interact with others around us.
A couple of questions to ponder:
- Exactly what have I lost during the years of isolation?
- Can I name it?
- Do I miss it?
- Do I want it back?
- What does fellowship look like to me now, compared with 2 or 3 years ago?
One of the ways my husband and I connected especially beautifully was through having an open home, and hosting meals and get-togethers for our friends and church community. He is a sociable extrovert who loves conversations and company. I tend to be on the introverted, happy-with-my-own-company scale. Over the years we learned how to compromise, and you know, hospitality was a wonderful gift from God to us. It was both a service and a ministry, a choice to step out and love in a very practical manner.
In South Africa, the (either lunch or supper) braai (barbecue) is a time-honoured way of offering hospitality. In Iringa, we experienced a Saturday morning ‘pancake’ breakfast where people got together to meet newcomers, or just share their weekly activities and prayer needs. It was a lovely time for us and we determined to do this as well when we returned to SA.
We moved into a retirement village in January, not entirely sure what to expect, but open to what God might have for us in this new season of our lives. There is a fellowship committee that organises a monthly braai, and a second mid-month event. We have built-in hospitality events in our village! How cool is that!! It’s a wonderful way for my husband to get his regular social fix without any work from me, plus church attendance is back to normal.
And yet… the introverted me was missing out. I love to organise and prepare, and I missed the open-home vibe. Last week, a friend was due back from a trip, the airport trip was around supper time, so I said to bring him back to supper with us. Then decided to invite another couple, who it appeared were fetching their neighbours from the same flight, so the invite was extended to them, then to two other couples, and our immediate neighbour. Suddenly I was full into an ‘event’, and sorting out seating, plates, cutlery – and I discovered I was singing! I felt normal again. The earth had tilted back into stability. Wow!!
Jesus shared many meals during his ministry – with close friends, with strangers, with people opposed to him and seeking to discredit and even kill him. Those meals were opportunities he used to initiate conversations, to bring healing touches and words to those who needed it, to laugh with his friends, to restore outcasts to society. We may not necessarily do all those things, but sometimes even the invitation sends a message to the person: we value you and your company.
Think of someone you could value with an invitation to a meal and company with others. Who is God calling you to connect with today?
Did you know? If you visit our Seasons and Blessings Resource Page, there is a whole section on Back-to-School resources listed under the Autumn column! We have gathered prayers and practical resources to help you mentally and spiritually prepare yourself and your kids for the school year ahead. You might also enjoy checking out this free downloadable book of prayers for children, found in our shop.