Is This What We Have In Common?

Is This What We Have In Common?

Though we established a cordial working relationship we never really socialized outside of work until one day Gordo invited me to his home for dinner. The invitation was extended to many others but the only gringos asked to come were Dave and I. Initially I had reservations about attending; I don’t think I would have gone it alone. But since Dave was going that took some of the edge off, so I rode out with him.

By the time we arrived at Gordo’s the house was already packed with people. All the guests were male and all were Spanish speaking, with the exception of two lone gringos who must have stood out like snow rabbits in an alligator farm. Not only were Dave and I white we were very, very white. Neither of us could pass for Mexicans if we hid under large sombreros and long ponchos. Both of us had pale faces and long blonde hair. Not knowing many of the guests we had some pause as to whether all would join the welcome wagon for a couple of Anglos. Our fears were soon put to rest once we were led into the kitchen. Piping hot tortillas were tossed to us as fast as they flew off the fire.

For those who may not know this, butchering livestock in the suburbs of L.A. is generally prohibited in residential areas. Should this be a new revelation to you, you are not alone. Gordo never got the memo either. It happened right in his backyard; a lamb was slain. This is true; I’m not pulling the wool over your eyes! A lamb was slaughtered and the fat of it was prepared for all to partake of. Chunks of fresh meat stewed in a large pot, filling the entire house with a flavorful aroma. Before long we were stuffing our tortillas with tender strips carved from a common carcass. As we shared the sacrificial lamb I sensed a spirit of oneness within a mixed group where prejudice too often divides. But this evening was about communion. It mattered not which side of the border one was from; we were ‘todos hermanos’ as we shared the lamb that was slain.

As I reflect back upon this experience I am reminded of the church in its infancy. In the second chapter of Acts we read how the believers of the very first church were always together and had all things in common. (See Acts 2:44) They really didn’t have all that much in common outwardly but their hearts were knit together by the Lamb that was slain. We are also told that these early Christian pioneers continued daily with one accord, they broke bread from house to house and together they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart. You can see this for yourself in Acts 2:46. In the very next verse you’ll notice how God added to the fellowship daily. This was a happy group, one which people longed to be part of. There was acceptance. There was togetherness. There was gladness. And there was food!

It wasn’t long, though, before things got a little messy in the family of God. Jump up four chapters from Acts 2 to Acts 6 and you land the midst of a squabble, the first in church history as far as the record shows. The conflict erupted at the dinner fellowship and had to do with ethnicity. The ‘illegals’ felt that the widows of the natural citizens were given higher priority in the food line. This was quickly corrected when (judging by their names) seven ‘illegals’ were recruited to oversee the meal ministry. Once spatulas were placed in their willing and able hands the church took off again and it grew exponentially (See Acts 6:7). The lesson is this; before the church got it together the people had to get together as one.

The Apostle Paul also told the Corinthian church to get it together as the family there was divided over the most stupid things. Nowhere were their differences more apparent than at the supper table. Read all about it in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22. It’s horrifying! Paul told them, “You come together not for the better but for the worse.” How does this kind of ugliness creep into the house of the Lord? It happens when we get our eyes off the one thing we all have in common only to focus on our differences whether they are doctrinal, political or racial or anything else. It is probably true, in the outside world most of us would have little to do with each other. We are distinctly different from one another. But in the House of God we all have one precious thing in common, the Lamb that was slain.


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