it’s tuesday, 6:30PM. twelve of us hang out in the kitchen for about half an hour, sharing a new bottle of wine. the cincinnati chili is simmering on the stove, while the pasta, onions and cheese are waiting to join it in my one deep bowl. two by two we arrive, distributing regular but no-less-heartfelt hugs to one another, each of us doing a little lap around the kitchen island, then holding our place for the next pair to arrive.
7 o’clock, and time has arrived to dive into the meal. but first things first. we gather side by side around the island – an altar almost, and in some very real ways it is – and we say thanks. thanks God, for this food and for the few hours ahead.
on to the dining room. it’s an oval table, and getting a dozen around it is a squeeze – even before we eat. afterward, somebody is gonna have to push away a bit. it’s another 30 minutes or so of joyful and rather loud conversation. what’s up with kids, with jobs, with health, whatever…
seven thirty PM. we’ve been there an hour and bellies are full. the cincinnati chili was followed by a piece of dark chocolate cake and another bit of wine. God said “taste and see that the Lord is good…” no argument from me this night.
plates and silver make their way to the kitchen sink, and are replaced on the table by bibles – thin ones, thick ones, several translations. we open to philippians and begin our journey through it. we learn some things about the history and situation that gave rise to the letter. we pull out some stuff from chapter one that directly speaks to something we had all had an email conversation about last week. conversation is spirited and we don’t all agree. a guy at one end of the table takes issue with a guy at the other end. it might scare some people to watch it, but i know these guys. i know how much they love each other. and i know in my gut that they both want more than anything to know the truth! to know what God is really trying to convey to all of us. this is awesome stuff!
we could talk all night, some of us, but it’s now 8:30 and it’s time to pray. we pray in different ways on different nights, but we have a major focus this night. i’ll let arlene tell you about it…
“tuesday night my cell prayed for me. i was facing shoulder surgery the next morning. they all gathered around me and laid their hands on me and prayed. it brought tears to my eyes to have a group that loves me so much and really cares enough to be there for me. the prayer time definitely took away nervous anticipation and really calmed my nerves and spirit… i could really feel love and prayers going through directly to me. i had no problem sleeping that nite. my cellmates were all vessels used by God to calm me and give me peace.”
“to my cellmates: i love you all… thanks for everything. i can’t imagine not being in our cell. you’re my expanded family. i can’t imagine what it would be like without you guys.”
so there you have it, THRESHOLD. a night in the life of my cell. if any of this story is at all attractive to you, and you aren’t surrounded by community like this, it’s time.
it’s past time.
you know it and i know it and it’s time to let other things go in favor of this new commitment.
we 12 will vouch – it’s worth it.
if you’re ready, click this link and fill out the form: I”M READY FOR A CELL
we’ll have you in a cell that fits your needs and your lifestyle in no time.
i’m telling you, the cincinnati chili and the chocolate cake rock –
but what happens around the table AFTER dinner is the real meat.
and it is oh so sweet!