Around here we have lots of heart-to-hearts about "the most important thing." In this house, the most important thing is that everyone feels included. It is the most concrete way that I can describe to my children what it means to love God and neighbor. Making someone feel included goes beyond being friendly or funding their needs, it is a true expression of love. For a three year old it is a tangible way to live into God's call to love. It means sharing, inviting, helping and noticing. Not easy for your average egocentric preschooler.
Not easy for your average egocentric church-goer. Jesus always knew what someone's most important thing was. He made no allowances for most important THINGS. The most important thing is to make others feel included. That meant seeing the person behind the prostitute's cloy. It meant not only not judging her, but going home with her to share a meal. ON HER DISHES. That's putting on your big person panties.
Every night the kids pray for us to be good servants. Every lunch (read on good days when we are more or less together) we engage in confession, repentance, and forgiveness. (Eye-rollers know that this practice is for me mostly as my grouchy voice was a way too frequent visitor) I pointedly ask each of us what we have done well and if there is anything we need to say sorry for. I am shocked by the positive effect this has had on me. Confession is a vital part of discipleship and we disregard it totally in the mainline protestant church.
I have a confession to make: I do not make the most important thing in my life that everyone feels included. I want to. I am making my prayer that I will begin to love others with a love that compels me to eat AT THEIR HOUSE. Vulnerable. Loving. Inclusive.
Also, if we eat there I don't have to clean up here.