Frying Fish for Jesus

Sunset Hill Fish Fry

When my wife Ashlee and I moved into an intentional community, we thought we were pretty bad ass (or at least I did, I she’s much more humble and grounded than I am).  It felt so original and new – like we had finally figured it out – finally stumbled upon the key to a way of living that no one had ever discovered before.  And we (again, probably just me) were very proud of ourselves for being able to uncover what living well looks like!
Of course, it turns out, Christians have been living together in community for a long, long time.  As long as there have been Christians at all.  And from the way Christian community is written about in the book of Acts (the first community), people seemed to be pretty serious about it! (Acts says they shared ALL their possessions?!  That’s pretty serious stuff…does that include toothbrushes and underwear too?)
The longer I’m here the more I realize just how little we figure out ourselves.  The more I find value in listening to the spiritual insights of those who have lived before me. The more interested I become in finding ways to live into the rich spiritual practices of the past in an on-going and continuing experiment about what it looks like to be an individual following Christ with a community.  Sunset Hill Fish Fry 2
During this Lenten season, Sunset Hill (that’s the name of our group of communal hillbillies), has decided to do a Fish Fry every Friday.  It’s open to the immediate community, as well as all of our friends.  At first glance it doesn’t seem like much – just some friends frying up tilapia on a Friday night, playing board games and sharing stories and a short devotional…but I believe there’s more going on here then that, or if there’s not more going on, then maybe those actions are more significant than we give them credit for.

Phil Woodward Fish Fry
How we organize and plan our time tells us what we value, where our loyalties lie, and who we are deep down inside.  The Christian calendar has always been a way of reminding us that it is God who organizes time, and it is ultimately God’s story that we are called live into and to tell with our lives.  Every Sunday Christians gather together in corporate worship to affirm that God shapes our time and our lives. Regular individual spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, reading the bible are all ways we organize our time to try and put God at the center of the rhythm of life.  It is up to each community to discern what rhythms comprise a healthy devoted life.  But for us, that is what is at the heart of something as simple as a Friday fish fry – yet another way for a community to let God shape the rhythms and timing of our lives, another way to live into the season of Advent together as a community and prepare and wait for the coming celebration of Easter.   We gather together and break bread and share stories – with the understanding that we are attempting to share in the larger story of who God is – a reconciling God that is passionately and loving bringing all things into healthy relationship with Himself and each other.

Sunset Hill Fish Fry 3

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