31 days of writing, day 5
Today’s prompt: Share
Lately, I have been contemplating the church trend of life groups or small groups, which aim to function as spaces for shared life and faith. Like much that happens in the modern church, these groups often feel mechanistic and forced, though considering our frenzied lives, perhaps we believe it to be a necessary pressure.
I don’t remember anyone from my childhood participating in a small group. Instead, I recall people living in close proximity to one another. Their focus was not life groups, but simply life. Neighborhood kids played together until past dark. Men would gather at the Knotty Pine or at Hill Farm, to drink coffee and shoot the bull.
For me, my life group met around my grandmother’s table on Sunday mornings. It was a round wooden table, nearly always cloaked with a white table cloth, for the wood underneath showed the signs of age. There were more chairs situated around the table than its small diameter could reasonably support. First Reformed Church, just one block to the west, released at 10:00 and First Presbyterian Church, directly across the street, a half-hour later. Uncles and aunts, cousins and friends, would trickle in and out over the next couple of hours, bodies stacked two deep around the perimeter of the small dining area.
My grandmother never failed to provide the necessary staples—hot coffee, orange Kool-Aid, saltine crackers, soft butter, and cheese spread. Other delights also regularly found their way to the table–molasses cookies, blond brownies, or summer sausage. But without fail, there was always coffee and conversation. Sometimes, I would go the whole week without seeing these people, but come Sunday morning, we met for our “life group.”
I think we miss something precious when we live life by curriculum. I ache for those times around that table; we talked about nothing in particular, and in so doing, we talked about everything.
What do you remember about your childhood gatherings? Where do you see organic community occurring today?
One thought on “My Grandma’s Table”
I remember my growing up years on most Friday nights our family gathered at my great aunt and uncles farm. My mom and dad and I, my grandma and grandpa, my great aunt and uncle, their son and wife and my cousins all 5 or sometimes just the 3 youngest. Usually started out with everyone in the living room chatting and watching Gunsmoke then the adults would retire to the kitchen table and play cards while my cousins and I would play outside for awhile then come in and play downstairs. Then around 10:00 or so we’d all have a snack– coffee, koolaid, and some baked goodies usually. My great aunt made the best home made ginger snap cookies and snicker doodles! I also had my “small group” of the neighborhood kids I grew up with playing after school until after dark with. We biked, played baseball, played down by the creek, played games like flashlight tag or Starlight Moonlight. We still keep in touch. So many good memories I cherish looking back and appreciate that I had those times!
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