Stuffed Figs

“She made us figs stuffed with blue cheese!”

We opened our Sunday meeting by sharing stories about what is happening in our cells this week. I told the group that we are a cell church and this meeting is a gathering of cells and an expression of our life together. And then I asked what happened in cells this week. The first person to offer a story said that someone hosted their cell for the first time and served stuffed figs. This extravagance was noteworthy—not just because it was a step up from potato chips—but because it was a taste of the radical hospitality of cells. Cells create an environment where each person matters and what they have to give matters. Everyone is welcome and has a part to play. Impressive food is not the point. But being who you are and sharing what you have to give is.

This woman offered her home, her food and her welcome. Others share resources, offer encouragement or wisdom, friendship, kindness, faith. In a cell, people discover they have something of God’s grace to offer one another and it is sweet both to give and to receive. There is an inward and outward reality to the Christian life and the cell is a context in which to experience and express both.

In a week filled with devastation of violence and hate in the form of mass shootings, the act of hospitality to strangers seems even more necessary and radical. Gathering in the name of Jesus to pray, love each other and express God’s grace in its various forms is a life-giving endeavor. Sharing food together and creating a safe place to explore and express God’s love is something the world urgently needs. And this week, it came in the form of a stuffed fig.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. — 1 Peter 4:7-11

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