When I was very young I would hear this beautiful music playing from our den-Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Patsy Cline, Duke Ellington, so many great artists. I would sneak a peek around the corner and see maybe, 5 couples dressed very nicely, dancing. My home was turned into a very intimate dance hall for friends. I could hear laughter, the glasses tinkling as toasts were made, and as I slipped back into bed I took with me a smile. Everyone seemed so happy. It’s taken decades for me to appreciate that scene, and to realize it was the 50’s-60’s version of a Small Group. They met regularly, they were the best of friends, and always willing to help one another.
Through the years some drifted off, some tried businesses together and it didn’t work, so the friendships were part of the fallout. It’s not unlike the experiences many of us have had with our church small groups – eventually we don’t feel as loved, we have a spat with someone, we feel slighted, something happens to fragment the group. I understand that with the group I grew up watching. I even understand that struggle within our church groups. But shouldn’t we, those who trust in Christ, have more at our disposal, a different type of “glue” than my parents’ group had? Isn’t the world, regular folk, expecting and somewhat rightfully so, a different type of gathering from us?
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Looks to me like not only do we have a resource my parent’s “small group” didn’t have, God expects for our community to live it out successfully, with His help.
Let’s try “the dance” again; once again with old friends and new. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with the grace of forgiveness, and an anticipation of a growing love for God, and one another. You won’t be dancing alone.