Chess in the Kingdom

My guess is we wont play chess in heaven, maybe in the eternal state, but we certainly play it today in the kingdom. I've been getting together with a friend to play chess at a local pub. Jeff is teaching me strategy as we play, and I actually won a couple games. We sit there for a couple hours, sometimes people come by to see what we're doing, and we talk about stuff like work, Jesus, chess, church and Napoleon. Seriously, it's very cool. It's kingdom stuff.

This has me thinking about relationships, community and time. If Jesus redeems for himself a people meant to know, love and serve one another why is spending time together outside of church  programs so infrequent? I'm not saying programs are bad or unimportant. Organization is a good thing. We organize our Home Groups at Grace to provide a context for real community to happen. But if our programs are resulting in community shouldn't our lives connect more often?

From my perspective playing chess with Jeff really is a part of the Kingdom of God. It subtly reflects that in Jesus men from different backgrounds and generations (tribes and tongues?) can be one and have all things in common. In one sense it is nothing big - a couple hours every once in a while to play chess. But it matters. Informal gatherings like this, relationships like this, not only bless the individuals involved, but can become an impetus for more among Christians, and can create an atmosphere where we can invite the world to come and hang with us.

Of course one person cannot hang out with everyone, but we can all try to be the community Jesus intends us to be by playing chess in the Kingdom. Or darts. Or drinking coffee. Or - whatever. The point is God intends for us to know one another. Let's be intentional about it.