They come from all over town. Some come alone, others come in pairs and many come with at least a couple kids and a side dish in tow.
Each of these people so different from the next, their day-to-day lifestyles span the spectrum. Mother, business owner, personal trainer, engineer, poet, student, nurse, solider, designer, contractor and sales person. Tuesday’s can bring struggles, successes, hardships or rejoicing but regardless of it all, THEY SHOW UP.
I walked in the front door without knocking. It wasn’t weird or uncommon. I was welcomed. First, by a herd of small children running around with baby dolls and second, by the adults who were in the middle of uncorking wine bottles and pouring beers. We all greet each other, ask about the day and how we’ve been since the last time we spoke or gathered. People are honest. They have the freedom to say that their day was really difficult, to be met with unrehearsed compassion and encouragement that isn’t full of cliché affirmations.
Everyone gets a plate of food, good food. It’s Italian. People settle and the side conversations get in full swing. Some talk about stomach flu and allergies that have plagued the masses. Others seek advice on their businesses and another group talks about the economic state of our city and how a shift needs to happen if we want to keep people in Albuquerque.
They all show up. There are a million excuses to keep them from coming to community group but when they do, something supernatural happens. We are a people designed to be relational with one another. We see it so clearly in the early church. People gathered together, broke bread and shared life—the essence of the church. Lives are transformed by the gospel as we live amongst one another. When we are isolated from community our affection for Jesus fades. We are most nourished when we are around God’s people.
This group has no set structure, no pre-prepared questions to ask, no correct way to respond but you will always find freedom. Freedom to share or freedom to stay not to. Vulnerability is hard but having a weekly opportunity available makes it as easier to share when you need to. This is a place where a level of transparency is expected and accepted.
A legacy is being created week after week as it becomes normative for these kids to see authentic community as extended family. They learn to carve out time for people that matter to them and see the way all of these people organically come together to meet the needs of the family with a baby who is fighting for life, or the single person facing financial hardship.
This isn’t just a weekly small group. This is where friendships are created between people that would never otherwise interact. We cultivate respect for people who are nothing like us. Regardless of seasons of obligation or deep desire, this place on Tuesday nights is familiar and comforting—like home.