There is something special about Gator’s living room chair. It is very comfortable and with a quilt, precious and defrayed sleep arrives. A book by Jack’s favorite author is icing on the relaxation dessert. A delightful meal of home grown baked chicken.
Home grown cauliflower, rice and squash accompanied by family grown heritage wheat baked into flatbread. A bit of cranberry wine and the Friday Shabbat with candles and a blessing and a toast to the King of the Universe. A worthy communion every Friday (not religiously but joyfully) and the family digs in around the table. It is more than sufficient to get Jack’s nose out of a book and into the kitchen.
The rest of the week can vary from the ‘smash and grab’ style from the fridge to a giant pot of rice and vegetables flavored with Tikka Masala and Bragg’s salty sauce. Food, it brings people together to feast and relax. Perhaps it doesn’t explain the lone man, sitting on the counter stool eating breakfast. No one to talk to except the wait staff.
A nice slow breakfast with perhaps a newspaper on the left side of the plate.
Often, that is Jack sitting alone, munching his exquisite designer cinnamon toast and drinking the best coffee he can make. What is it about eating either alone or with loved ones that satisfies? Sharing favorite food with people you just know will enjoy what you have.
There is a similarity with attendance at the ‘church’ of familiarity or new. The term church refers to the people of the world around us that profess a Christian faith, not a building perse. Names are used from scripture to make it easier to find the buildings and tell others were you go to be in fellowship. You know them, most of them. Of course, being used to Jack’s penchant for oddity he wonders why certain names, scriptural names are not used.
The first church of Long suffering perhaps or the church of Self-Control. Jack likes the church of fruitfulness.
An expected and surprising fact is that intimacy with our Lord Jesus and intimacy with one another usually begins with shared prayer. Jack and his wife have found great freedom and developing relationships with small groups of people that pray audibly with one another. Most, if not all gatherings of worshipers on Sunday do not know each others spirit intimately nor pursue it. Praying for one another engenders another level of pleasant, fulfilling growth with fellow believers. The size of the congregation seems to not be a factor in the amount of people who join together for prayer during, before or after ‘services’ (an annoying word for Jack. He associates that word with plumbers or oil changes)
Julie and Jack find themselves drawn to prayer groups anywhere they go to. In small gatherings and huge ones of ten thousand. The interesting fact is that the number of people who do this intimate praying seems to remain the same no matter the size of attending worshipers. Around five to ten people are drawn to pray with others in the time that everyone gathers. They were concerned when they visited a pleasant and very large mega church that has sattelite viewing locations. About ten huge buildings within the metropolitan area alone. All of them linked to the main campus for the message.(Available on the internet for anyone as well.) What will it be like? A revival such as the stadiums filled with Billy Graham speaking? It was impossible not to visit and see.
A gathering they went to a few years ago on the National Mall in D.C.was an intimate group of a dozen or so in one tent. They sang and prayed in for 24 hours. In one tent. There were 50 tents on the mall. One tent for each state. It was a huge event and it also encouraged small groups all at the same time. A vast majority of people are not drawn to pray in small groups, out loud with one another. Puzzling but familiar to Jack and family. Intimacy with Jesus engenders intimacy with believers. It’s always fear of being exposed to another, a stranger. So no matter the size of the ‘congregation’, prayer teams stay the same size. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s perfectly OK and expectedly normal. It’s hard to have an intimate relationship with large numbers of people. Mega churches no longer look intimidating to Jack. Just the parking and if there is decent coffee available. The priesthood of all believers is an old perfect term for Christian gatherings. It is how it was done in the first century. No Wi-Fi hotspots in those days.
Intimacy with Christ is an easier task with shared prayer however. The world now has a fear of being ‘exposed’ for the weakness we all have in our life. However also being exposed with Jesus’ spirit living inside. Jack is learning this about himself. The hard life and the wounds he has had have actually made it easier for him. Hunger for real life. Hunger to speak and hear from our lord and Savior. Jesus gathers those prayers in a bowl in the heavenlies and hears them all and never forgets any of them. He showed that to John on t he island of Patmos a few centuries ago. He wrote it all down for us. What he saw and heard.
It’s pretty good. Jack Gator