From Pastor Loida - An Update on Summer Gardens Small Groups at Community UMC
This summer we have 11 small groups meeting once a month at different homes throughout The Villages, Fruitland Park, Leesburg, and surrounding areas. Each group comes together to enjoy a meal, snack, or dessert at the table. Each group studies God’s Word, pray for one another and, as outreach, they are encouraged to participate in a service project, outside our walls. They find a way to bless the community. One group already sent me a schedule of how they will serve at the Wildwood Soup Kitchen, a place where many in need gather at the table.
It is always interesting to share our experiences when we gather at the table. It is at the table that we begin to understand community in our family of origins. We celebrate birthdays, holidays, and just the ordinary day-to-day events. We discuss things important to us. We cry and laugh together, at the table. Jesus understood the importance of what happens at the table. He took the time to sit at the table with anyone who invited him. Many miracles and transforming moments happened as he sat and broke bread with others. Just read through the gospels and you find Jesus often sitting at the table. No wonder many called him “a glutton who ate with sinners.” As part of the study guides in our Summer Gardens, we read of the encounter Jesus had with Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and breakfast with the disciples after his resurrection. In each of these encounters, Jesus took as much time as needed to be present and make a difference in each person’s life.
Whether you are in a small group or not, take a chance to invite others to join with you at the table. Maybe invite a visitor to lunch with you after worship service… or someone you have seen in church often but you don’t know well.
This week, as you sit at the table to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner, look around at those who are sitting with you. If you are alone, think back to the many meals you have shared with others in your lifetime. Take the time to give God thanks for those you have shared with at the table. Then, think of one person you might want to invite to join you for a meal, or a snack, or just dessert. Again, great things happen when we gather in fun and fellowship! Enjoy!