I want to say a little more about the meeting between some of the key leaders of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and First African Baptist Church last Tuesday night. As I wrote in yesterday’s post, Rodney Waller, pastor of First African, directed our attention to that passage in Acts 2 where “all who believed were together and had all things in common,” and then asked, “What if our two churches could show Richmond what true reconciliation looks like.”
And that’s when I got goosebumps.
It’s a worthy goal, inspired by the Holy Spirit, but true reconciliation won’t come easily; the wounds that divide us are old and deep. I remember talking to a church member in North Carolina who told me that he wasn’t prejudiced, that he had “a lot of black friends.” I wasn’t convinced. I asked, “When was the last time you had one of your black friends over for dinner?” Because this is the simple truth:
Friends eat together.
Take a look at that passage from Acts chapter 2 again: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47, ESV).
At Tuesday night’s meeting I pointed out that line where it says they were “breaking bread in their homes.” “What if we did that?” I asked. “What if we invited each other into our homes to share meals? Because having people in your home is different from sitting down together in a church fellowship hall. It’s more intimate, more personal. It lets them into your life.”
I don’t know what the others will do with that idea but I know that I’ve been wondering if I have room at my table for Rodney Waller and his wife and their three teenage children. If our two churches are going to show Richmond what true reconciliation looks like it would be important for their two pastors to lead the way. And if the word reconciliation means “to become friendly again” then we’d better get busy. We can talk all we want, and have meetings from now until Jesus comes back, but true reconciliation is about friendship,
And friends eat together.