Maria is a fun-loving, big-personality gal who lives next door to a family from City Church, just a few blocks from me. I had met her once before she texted me last week, saying that her neighbor thought I might have an extra table and some chairs she could use for her birthday party. It was an easy swap to make – church tables for an invite to dinner.
So Sunday night I show up at her house looking forward to the Taco Man, meeting a bunch of strangers, and a quick return home for the evening. So the birthday girl meets me at the side gate and just about falls over herself apologizing.
“O my God, O my God, the pastor is here!” is her opening line, her face a mixture of laughter and horror. “I’m so sorry – we’re using your table for Beer Pong!”
I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I heard the term “Beer Pong.” My seminary education didn’t help me at that moment. Fortunately, my college education did.
I immediately assessed the situation, gazing across the backyard to where the City Church table was in full use, and I told Maria that our table and chairs are meant to be used by our neighbors and I was thrilled she had them.
As relief washed over her face, she introduced me to a bunch of folks and I was off towards the Taco Man and to eat with Nadia, Lenny, Minerva, Brian, and Astin. I had really interesting conversations, ranging from welding to real estate, from parenting to premarital counseling, from how Buddhist monk’s levitate to why Catholics feel guilty, from the meaning of baptism to whether Jesus would play Beer Pong.
Two hours later I’m headed home, stuffed with tacos and with gratitude for the great people I’ve just met and for a savior who loves parties and is not afraid to turn water into wine.