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I had to ask the last of our happy hour attendees to leave about an hour ago.  One (the one who doesn’t drink!) was falling asleep on the couch with the dogs .  But the wife and kids are getting up early in the morning for a birthday boat ride to and a day of hiking on Santa Cruz Island, so I needed to empty the house and get them to bed.  People started arriving around 6pm this evening.  This isn’t everyone who was there, but it gives you an idea:

Our daughter tells us there were 21 people here tonight (including our five family members).  We didn’t know most of them.  Six are weekly regulars.  Of the rest, one or two have visited once or twice over the past year and a half.  The others were first time visitors.

There were actresses and actors fresh from small indie performances in town and trying to figure out how to position themselves for a Big Break.  Missionary kids from Eritrea the Ukraine.  Aspiring doctors, a sailing captain, a future lawyer, two Swiss exchange students, several talented musicians previewing songs from an upcoming debut album, a future professor and a few undecideds.  All in their early 20’s, all a long way from family.  A cross spectrum of ideologies and personalities, but our friends knew that they would be welcomed and honored in our home, greeted by our kids and our dogs, handed some AMAZING cocktails (thank you to Ruth for the sake!!!), and welcomed to just be.  I probably didn’t converse with a third of them more than to get their drink order.  Talking with everyone every Sunday isn’t always feasible.  But I conversed with one guy on the difference between Lutheran and Reformed theology.   I planned with another couple I’ll have the privilege of marrying in two weeks.  I received updates on short-term work and travel plans from another person.  I watched my kids help keep the food supplied and deliver drinks.  I heard my oldest son joking and telling stories.  I washed a lot of dishes.  Some of them twice.

I may have misgivings and feel inadequate in describing what happens on Sunday evenings to other people.  I may be exhausted at the end of an 18 hour day.  But it’s a beautiful place to be.  A bit chaotic at times, but that’s sort of the nature of Christ’s love.  We always know what we’re getting with Christ’s love, but we never quite know where that will lead us or how it will change us or who it will connect us with, whether for an evening or a lifetime or, by His grace, an eternity.

 

 

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4 Responses to “Home”

  1. JP Says:

    That is SO COOL. Making drinks could be the most important thing you do all week. They didn’t teach us that in seminary! What a phenomenal outreach! 😊

    • mrpaulnelson Says:

      That’s what I struggle with – whether it’s actually outreach or not :-) I think it is, but then I start thinking in terms of metrics and results and begin to have second thoughts. Not that there aren’t results, relationships forged and built and mentoring and many other sorts of things. But these are by and large intangible, which is difficult to sit quietly with sometimes in an age of data and demographics.

      I try to think of it – as I like to think I think of it – it missional terms. Building relationships takes time. Lots of time. Right!??!

      • JP Says:

        Seed-planting doesn’t always lend itself to metrical analysis. You plant, someone else waters (or perhaps you are “watering” with cocktails!?), someone else harvests. No matter what, the Holy Spirit gets the credit. So keep making drinks! ;)

      • mrpaulnelson Says:

        Cheers!

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