This Wednesday marked our last official night together as cells before we all rest and revitalise over the summer.
We shared curries from all over the world, beautiful salads, bread, rice, pickles and delicious puddings. We watched Johnny and Estelle perform 'magic', a clever game, designed to confound you but keep you guessing how it is done. Louise showed that she is super observant! People made their best smile and 'Shrek face'. For the rest of the evening we just chatted.
Johnny thanked everyone for their commitment to cell life, apologising for the times when he wasn't best prepared, but as Holly said it didn't matter because folks were together enjoying each other's company.
As I watched, people were genuinely interested in one another's lives, listening to stories with enthusiasm or sympathy, whatever was needed. Pathways church at it's best. You see we are the church, it's not where we meet but who is there. Each one bringing their all, their gifting, their uniqueness, their love and their passions. Jesus's church is built person by person not brick by brick. Bricks bring no life, and can be destroyed so easily.
The church will endure, as people's lives are changed and given up freely, bringing the Spirit of the Lord to the place where they are, as we are told in Ephesians 2: 20-22.
"built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
We take it in turns to serve at the breakfast service in our local parish church, St Mary's, twice a month.
This service encourages young families to come for breakfast and activities around a theme taken from the bible. For example a recent service was about the story in Genesis when the Lord called Abram and how He provided for Abram, and we finished by praying for different people around the world.
It is a small, fairly simple affair but never the less vital for some families who do not feel they could attend a full meeting with their precious little ones. Toast is munched, tea is drunk and words of encouragement are shared. What a privilege it is for us to go and share in this work, to encourage another part of the body of Christ in our community.
Psalm 133:1-2 expresses this so well - "how good it is for brothers to dwell together in unity, it is like precious oil on the head...".
We are side by side unified by our shared love for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Agreeing that he was born of a virgin, died on the cross and was raised back to life on the third day. We may have different ideas about how a celebration should run, prefer different songs or use different words when we pray, but we know that the same God is listening and our praises are heard in the same place.