Last night, Halloween dinner was at my house. Phyllo puffs, a cheese board, bread and dipping oil as we gathered, then a choice of soups and salad. We finished with an apple pecan pie and coffee. The food was wonderful, but it was the company that made the evening – eight amazing people who grace my table and my life. There were stories of John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Roads and Amazing Grace sung together in three different countries during the same vacation and the Blues Brothers buying chairs on the way to Martha’s Vineyard. The latest family news and losing electricity in the last storm were tossed back and forth, along with what’s happening in the oyster beds and maternity wards. All too soon, coats and purses were gathered up and everyone headed out the door, the evening a memory.
My husband and I know these eight friends through two churches. Four were on my husband’s church board, three added their voices and instruments to church choirs, two were on search committees that called my husband as a pastor. Two gave us their beach house when we first moved to town, two others hosted Easter Egg Hunts when all our children were young. Three came to the book club I led a few years back, and two included us in the Chinese naming ceremony for their grandchild. I’ve spend countless hours walking streets and trails with two of them. I’ve spend birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, funerals, baptisms, and graduations with every one of them. In more ways than I can comprehend, they have brought joy into my life.
Sixteen years ago, I hadn’t met any of them. I’d have missed them entirely if the Spirit had taken us somewhere other than Wareham. For a bit of cooking and cleaning on my part, some cooking and driving on theirs, the ten of us gathered together. I’d have to be blind not to see in their faces the love of God.
Wherever two or more gather together, I will be.