Nine to Dine is a summer dinner gathering where the people of God gather for the people of God.
Gregory Rodriguez of the LA Times wrote an article called “Loneliness is a Pain.” He wrote, “In 1985, when researchers asked a cross-section of Americans how many [close friends] they had, the most common response was three. When they asked again in 2004, the most common answer…was zero, nil, nada.”
This is a sad reality for many. Our lives are more isolated than ever before and even though there might be people all around us: family, co-workers, waiters, grocery cashiers, people at the gym, and even the people we worship with at church, the truth is that it’s not easy to really to get to know any of them.
Basil, a 4th century church father, once wrote, “When we live our lives in isolation, what we have is unavailable and what we lack is unprocurable.” What the LA Times article highlights a cultural problem of loneliness but what the article does not point out is that when we live our lives independently, other people are poorer because they cannot benefit from our gifts. What we have to offer others is unavailable. Also, when we isolate ourselves, we are poorer because the benefits of others’ gifts are lost to us, so what we lack, we cannot get. When we say at Restoration “you make us better” and we truly believe it.
There is a word that appears repeatedly in scripture that holds the answer to his epidemic of loneliness. The word is Koinonia which simply means “to share in.” Most translate the word as fellowship. The point is that we are called to share with others in faith, service, time and physical space and, yes, even share a meal. This is a subject that Restoration knows well but we want raise the value of sharing a meal as an important part of our fellowship with each other. We were made to be in communion with others.
This summer we are encouraging the people of Restoration to sign up to be a part of a dinner gathering. Over the next few weeks we will give everyone the chance to join a group of nine people who will get together once a month this summer for dinner. We hope to expand relationships within Restoration and help people form new and unexpected friendships with people outside of their social circle.
I hope the you will make joining a Nine to Dine group a priority. People will meet in homes, restaurants, parks or any other place of meeting to intentionally fellowship with others. We’ve chosen the dinner table simply because there is something powerful when people gather around the table. Barriers are broken, stereotypes wiped away, relationship restored and renewed, and new friendships are formed. We see this every Sunday morning when, as a larger body, we gather around the Lord’s table.
Join us this summer as we expand our connection with others at the dinner table with Nine to Dine.