The Government have announced that for those who are living on their own, or who are single parents with children under the age of 18, they can mix with another household as if they were part of that household, so no having to sit in the garden 2 metres away in the pouring rain, like my friends did last week when they came over for a meal.
This is good news for those who have been feeling particularly isolated and not able to connect face to face with people. But for some, it will be tinged with sadness as they still may remain isolated because perhaps their family do not live locally, or they do not have any family, or the family they do have, have had to make very difficult decisions about which in law or member of the family they are choosing to form a bubble with.
I want to encourage us to be very mindful of those people around us that we know, who may be on their own and not able to be part of another bubble. Can we invite them from time to time to join ours? Can we invite them over for a meal, or out for a walk, or have a cup of tea?
One of the things we notice about Jesus is that he spent a lot of time socialising with people and eating! There are stories of BBQs on the beach with his friends, and in the book of Luke alone, there are 10 stories of Jesus eating with various people. This includes a tax collector, 5000 people as he miraculously fed them on the mountainside when they had no food, Mary and Martha and Zacchaeus who Jesus didn’t wait to ask him over, told him he was coming to his house for some food!
Jesus enjoyed sitting down with people to eat. It was often a more relaxed time where people let their guard down and they could talk honestly as well as enjoy some good food.
If we fast forward from Luke into the book of Acts, we see they too prioritised spending time together relaxing and eating:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
This passage gives us a snap shot of the early church community and we see things we naturally associate with a church community like prayer, communion, miracles, meeting in the temple courts, sharing what they had with those in need. But what also sneaks in there is alongside breaking bread in their homes they ate together. It was that important a part of their community life that they included it.
Now we can’t do a lot of things on that list because of social distancing, but we can invite someone who is on their own, or a single parent, over for food or for a drink and spend time listening, loving and being Jesus.
Ask God to direct you as to who you could invite over for a meal, a coffee and a chat.
If you are one of those who on your own, ask God to prompt someone to get in touch with you or get in touch with me and we will see if we can arrange for folks to connect.