We've lived in our house almost 6 months now, having moved in on April 9. A couple of days before we moved in, we invited the members of our small group over for a time of dedication and blessing over our home. Together, we walked through each room of the house, and said a prayer in each one. We used the House Blessing found in Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. It was lovely. We closed our time together with singing and worship, all sitting on the floor of the living room in our empty house. The echo of the hymns being sung in our house was moving.
There's a lot that could be said about these past 6 months. Our house feels like home now. A lot of days I'm still giddy as I pull into the driveway, and see our cute little green house. We've laughed (and cried) a lot here already, and last week we finally hung curtains in the living room. It's starting to really come together.
But one of the deepest desires that Billy and I share for our home, and one of the things we prayed when we dedicated it, is that it would be a place where hospitality is extended. We don't want our home to be just ours-- we don't want to not know our neighbors, and we don't want to live the kind of secluded and private lives Billy and I have tended to live, in other houses we've together called home. We want our home to be a place of kingdom in-breaking, and love-outpouring.
For the first 8 months that we lived in Waco, we lived with another family -- members of our church fellowship. We were the grateful recipients of their hospitality. And now, we have a home, and we get to share it with others. We don't know what it will look like over the years, just how our home will be shared.
But for now, one practice we have committed to, is once-per-week, inviting someone into our home for dinner. We have a regular night of the week that we invite someone over. We try as much as possible to protect that time, and to be faithful to it. For us, it is one small way in which we can intentionally share life in community. It's just once-per-week, so it is still easy to maintain our own boundaries for family time. I sometimes get so excited about an idea or a practice, that I find myself overextended. In theory, I'd like to have people over for dinner every night. In practice, that wouldn't be healthy for our family. So keeping it (for now) as a once-per-week commitment, helps me maintain a healthy pace of life.
We've enjoyed this weekly rhythm. My heart is truly full when there are others gathered around our dining room table and when kids are running circles through the house. Additionally, doing this as a regular practice has been transforming to me in some unexpected ways. I've always enjoyed cooking for others, but what I've found in cooking for these weekly dinners, is that on some level, part of my motivation has been to impress others. Over the past couple of weeks, however, that has shifted for me. I've been much less focused on what I'm cooking, and much more focused on why I'm cooking. As a result, I've found great joy in preparing these meals, and I look forward to the laughter and conversation that happens as we feast with others at the table.
Through this rhythm of love-outpouring, we have experienced the kingdom in-breaking.
I am grateful.