A Taste of Heaven

What a summer dinner party taught me about generosity, hospitality, and community.

This past weekend we hosted an outdoor dinner party—a garden party, if you will. It was a beautiful night of feasting on tangy hoisin pork, crunchy Asian slaw, fresh Israeli salad, still-warm bread, and more. Our guests showed up in festive summer clothes, happy to be in airy dresses rather than thick sweaters after a seemingly unending winter. We sipped strawberry lemonade, and danced under paper lanterns to a playlist made just for the occasion. It was all so beautiful.

A few times during the evening I found my eyes tearing up, my throat tightening in utter thankfulness in the midst of a perfect night with amazing friends. We laughed and joked and sang and swatted mosquitoes. We smiled appreciatively, reflecting on the hard week so many of us had faced. It was truly joyous, and I could feel the fleeting nature of it all, even as we sat enjoying spoonfuls of avocado mousse.

As we all took to Instagramming the evening, I knew others felt it too. This was a rare, beautiful event, and we all wanted to drink it in as deeply as we could—to capture it in pictures somehow.

It was beautiful because the weather was perfect and the twinkling lights in the trees cast a warm glow. But what truly made the evening beautiful was how it all came together: with each person offering something.

My husband, Jim, busied himself with yard work and setup. I focused on decorating. Others offered their skills in making delicious salads and drinks and mousse and playlists. Others prayed or occupied our dog or cut bread or set the table or carried dishes out. Our friends helped themselves to things in our kitchen, mixed up concoctions at our table, and helped us clean up.

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Amy Jackson provides leadership and direction to the Kyria team and the Church Ministry Media Group at Christianity Today International.

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