The party is obvious to anyone driving past the house on the corner. Every July, our neighbors throw a gigantic party. Initially, it began as a venue for their friends and family. But as the years passed, the party expanded. Now, those of us who live near, are invited to their festivities.
Hundreds of people gather together in eclectic community. To say this group is diverse is an understatement. Our interests, lifestyles, and geography vary as well as our political opinions.
We gather. Sharing food, small talk about kids, who we are, how we know our neighbors. We watch the same magic show every year. Our kids mingle in the bounce house and admire the visiting reptiles.
At night, the chatter becomes music set against the background noise played through the speakers. The Christmas lights sparkle in the darkness. There is an an energy at work that I find comforting.
And apparently, so did my son. One year, my youngest son and I went back over at night. We climbed up on their iconic double decker truck and took in the atmosphere. He was the one who asked if we could go back. We sat there, underneath the stars on a warm July night, taking in all that was happening below. The chatter, The laughter. The connecting.
Our neighbors are notorious for their wild reputation. But they are also known for their generosity and hospitality. As someone joked, “you do something to upset them, they’ll take care of you. If you need anything, they’ll take care of you.”
The party is a taste of God’s Kingdom. One in which all are invited to eat with Jesus. One in which everyone comes as they are, yet, are transformed simply by being in his presence. Kingdom parties do not involve exclusive lists. There are no stipulations. Big. small. crowded. intimate. coffee. feast. But they do usually require stepping out of our comfort zones to issue the invitation.
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:13-14
When are you having yours?