For the past 40 days our faith community has been set the challenge to post photos of "being together, sharing together and working together". We called it the 40/40 challenge. We wanted to try to represent what it looks like every day, not just Sundays to be together, share together and work together. At the end of the 40 days we celebrated the best 40 photos. On the final day I placed all the photos all over a table. There were pictures of families, groups of friends, eating, working, serving, laughing, learning, travelling, worshiping together, right across the ages. Then the next step was to surround the photos with written stories to match the photos, we all got into an added our small story. Finally we wrote “words” that come to us as we looked at the photos. Words that came up were:
Joy, love, fun, family, connected, building relationships, Life, involved, blessed, purpose, togetherness, kindness, giving, heartwarming, wonderful, compassion, building into eternity....
We chatted, laughed, created and remembered the events that photos sparked for us all. The room was full of joy, togetherness, celebration and family. There were people of all ages from 2 years to 75 years. Single, married, families, widows, teens and kids all enjoying their time together and listening to the shared, stories. We had just finished having breakfast together and some worship and amidst all the photos and words I placed the cross and the bread and the wine.
We we're reminded that Jesus was not someone distant stature or God far away. He does not want us to perform some ritual that could look like “coming together once a week” to pay homage to, ask for forgiveness and make requests of. But rather amongst all these photos and words that represented our faith community, He is in the midst, in fact He wants to be in the centre of it all, everyday.
And I imagine in a similar gathering like we were in, while he was hanging out with his community eating, talking and probably singing, he shared with them how much he wants us to remember Him whenever we eat and meet. As we took the bread and the wine together and remembered, our community prayed.
One elderly, sick man, who had just got out of hospital, prayed “Thank you for allowing me to be here with my family". This is a man who has not often been welcomed in many churches because he does not fit the mould. To him, we are his family. One newly widowed lady, prayed a prayer of thankfulness to the amazing love God has shown us all. A young Asian teenager, who has recently become a Christian, prays earnestly in the corner as he seeks God in ways that those of us who have been Christians for a long time are thankful for the reminder. A little autistic 8 year old girl comes to me after asking for the microphone because she simply wants to say Thank you God" for all to hear.
After the prayer time we continued to talk to each other and enjoy the photos, as I watched another teenager walks up to the elderly man and they have a wonderful Conversation. I watched all ages interact and enjoy being together. A 5 year little girl walks up, to me to ask if we could do the pharaoh story (which was a Godly play enactment of the crossing of the red sea, which I have done leading up to communion before). A wonderful wise sage in our midst walked up to a 14 year old and said “You are one of my most favourite people in this world, gee I love you”. I just can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning together in a Faith community.
What does it look to “be together, share together and work together”.....I can’t wait for one of our talented ladies to collage all that was done that day, cause I know it is a visual way to answer this question. I wonder if you took up the challenge what you might SEE and LEARN together as you take 40 photos in 40 days and celebrate what God is doing in your community?