So the other evening, I invited a couple of guys over for an impromptu barbecue. And it turned into a glorious gathering of some of my favorite saints.
The four of us sat on the back porch, doing very un-churchy things, in the presence of God.
What kind of un-churchy things? Well we were eating
steak, fresh off the barbecue, for one. Some of us had a beer with the steak (a
nice, black oatmeal stout, in fact!). And we were telling God stories: stories that makes God look good.
After we finished the steaks, a couple of us lit up our pipes, and we listened to the peaceful sound of the rain on the roof.
And we shared story after story of God intervening in our lives and lives of others we knew.
And we relaxed.
That was it. Nothing else. No signs and wonders. No offerings. No sermons (got close once, but we dodged it!). Didn’t even get out our Bibles. We just enjoyed God and each other.
I wanted to tell this story for a couple of reasons.
First, the evening really touched me pretty deeply. These are some of my favorite men, and I treasure their company. I just thought I’d share my joy with you.
Second, we sometimes still have the expectation that we need to be doing godly things to be in God’s presence. Bosh! The Incarnation put that one to death. God didn’t seem to be offended by good beer, good tobacco or even the occasional wide-eyed expletive in response to his amazing exploits.
There’s a third reason, and it may not make sense to everybody reading this, and that’s OK: In my world, there isn’t much that says “You’re off duty!” as much as an oatmeal stout and pipe full of Black Cavendish. And if we can’t be “off duty” in our Christian fellowship, then something is seriously wrong!
Yes, I’m suggesting that we put our religion away, far away, and build real relationships with real people in the real world. Those are the ones that will keep us strong in the long run.