Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Refrigerator Rites

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

Our downstairs reeked of sweaty boys, Mountain Dew, pizza, and Doritos from their all-night LAN party--the male version of a slumber party where they eat, belch, pass gas, laugh, cheer, scream, and play online computer games until dawn. Our dining room looked like NASA's control room, (thanks to my techie husband), where testosterone-driven boys, connected by power cords and flashing screens, fixed their eyes on other-world action and threw themselves into the game.

We only had four rules:
  1. Wear headphones after midnight
  2. Keep the noise to a dull roar
  3. No one leaves the house except with a parent
  4. Help yourselves to anything in the refrigerator
Believe it or not, the last rule was the hardest for them to follow. To some, refrigerator rites were almost as personal as snooping through someones dresser drawers; you just didn't rummage around another person's refrigerator and help yourself to their food. But, this rite served two purposes in our home, and we enforced it: First, it relieved me from hostess duty. Second, and most important, it made the boys feel comfortable, like they were at home.

A few of these guys grew up fatherless and I knew what that felt like. I knew how important it was to have a safe place to escape the stress of a broken home--even if it was just for a few hours; a place where they could participate in a whole and healthy family--where two parents lived happily under one roof. Refrigerator rites declare "You're part of the family, part of the whole."

God offers us refrigerator rites, too. He adopts us as his own children (purchased by the blood of Jesus) and says, "You're part of the family. What's mine is yours. Help yourselves." But how many of us shy away, feel like we're eating a piece of forbidden fruit if we take anything from God's refrigerator? Maybe growing up without a daddy makes it awkward at first? We might need more time growing comfortable sharing the same bag of chips before we help ourselves to the last bagel without asking.

One morning after seven years of all-night LAN parties, I found a dollar and a note pinned to my 'frige. It read, "Dear Mrs. Aaron's Mom, Sorry, I ate your last bagel. Here's a dollar. Ben." I chuckled and gave him back the dollar.

Maybe we're like Ben, uncomfortable taking something from God without offering payment, knowing the value of what God's offering. 

Lord, 
Help us to simply accept our place in your family through the blood of your Son, Jesus. May we learn that there is no other payment necessary to find a place around your table. Help us to spend more time with you so until sitting in your presence feels like home--enough like home that we can help ourselves to anything in your refrigerator. Amen.

4 comments:

  1. You are so right Dawn. It certainly is unreal to think of God's love as so unconditional that we deserve it for the way we "take." Thank you for your post! Great way to start the day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for dropping in this morning and for starting my day with a little encouragement. Can't wait to see your new book.

      Delete
  2. What a cool idea. I would not have thought of offering refrigerator rights to a bunch of young boys at a sleepover. And it is powerful how you tied it in with God's refrigerator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These guys were great and never stepped out of bounds, which is why I allowed refrigerator rites. Hanging at our house gave my husband the opportunity to minister to the fatherless. It was a powerful neighborhood ministry.

      Delete