We call it a cell group but we're just a group of friends who love God and love each other.
Yesterday--which was Simcoe Day and a holiday--I made a new dish for tonight from one of my two favourite Sandi Richard cookbooks--this one called The Dinner Fix. I made Sweet Indian Chicken. It was supposed to include mincemeat--the kind that goes in mince pies. I didn't have any so I threw in sultana raisins instead--along with some Branston Pickle--a kind of chutney. It seemed to work.
A few weeks ago Paul had come back from Mishkeegogamang with a gift of wild rice from Chief Connie Gray-McKay. I soaked and rinsed it for about 18 hours and then cooked it. It was delicious mixed with Basmati rice.
I had three over ripe bananas and so far this year I've avoided fruit flies, so I made them into a banana cake for dessert. It was nice having extra time to prepare the meal yesterday.
Tonight all I had to do was heat everything up and cook some vegetables and it was all in process when the phone rang. It was Lori Lei asking if the group was on tonight and could she come with Ava, her darling miracle baby--six and a half months old. Of course she could! We'd be thrilled to see them.
Victoria and Tiffany-Amber appeared from their apartment downstairs. "We're here to help," said Victoria.
"Great," I said, "I need some helpers." And soon they were busy setting the table for eight. Brenda came upstairs with them.
The front door opened and a young man stood in the hall holding a long French stick and a carton of fresh strawberries. "I can't stay tonight," he said, "I have to work. But I want you to know this means so much to me. I brought these because...breaking bread is good." With a promise to see us on Sunday in church, he was gone.
Ron and Susan arrived and Lori Lei and Ava--our company for this evening was complete.
As we sat around the table we built on an ice-breaker we'd had last week where we'd shared what our favourite movies were. Tonight we talked about what makes them our favourite. For instance--Paul's are Dickens' A Christmas Carol--the Alistair Simms version--and Ground hog Day with Bill Murray. They may not seem to have much in common, but both of them are stories of redemption.
Brenda shared a funny conversation she'd had with Tiffany-Amber. She had said to Brenda, "Mommy, I don't want to grow up."
Brenda replied, "You know Honey, you think that now, but when you do grow up you're going to be glad you're grown up."
"No, Mommy," Tiffany-Amber insisted, with tears in her eyes, "I really don't want to grow up."
"Well, then," said Brenda, "You're going to have to go to Never Never Land."
"There's no such place!" said Tiffany-Amber, laughing at her mother.
"There--it's too late, you're grown up already," said Brenda, laughing too.
After clearing away the dishes we gathered in easy chairs and on leather couch and read a little more of the book we're discussing--Larry Crabb's Soul Talk. We talked about the importance of being known--"not by a crowd or a committee, but by a person, a close friend, an intimate companion. And not merely held accountable, but genuinely known in an intimate, vulnerable, painfully real, long-term relationship."
We're about cultivating that kind of relationship--and in varying degrees with one another we are growing towards it.
The phone rang. It was Beth, one of Susan and Ron's daughters. The news sent a ripple of anticipation around our circle. Christy, another of their daughters, who had been in labour all day, was heading for the hospital--Mount Sinai in Toronto. Susan will be there tonight with Beth sharing in the drama and hard work as a new grandchild is born.
We prayed--for a fast and safe delivery--for strength for Susan who is still not recovered from a serious sinus infection--and we celebrated and prayed for a new life about to emerge into the world.
Another Tuesday night--and it had been so good to be together.
John 17:20-21 (New International Version)
20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.