In Amber and Ben’s backyard, Tacoma WA, 6.10.2012

“I’m so glad we are related in more ways than one,” our daughter Amber remarked this past Sunday morning.

We were first-time attendees at Soma/Tacoma, a relatively new church plant in Tacoma, WA known for its missional communities. Our son Jordan has just relocated to Tacoma, and we decided to worship together at a church several people had recommended to Jordan.

As the church explains it, the gospel makes us children of God and brothers and sisters together. This identity is lived out in Missional Communities who work out faith in the gospel of Jesus in the everyday rhythms of life. It only took one visit to know that Soma does this very well.

Now that all three of our original kids, as we like to call them, live on the west coast, we rarely get a chance to enjoy the “everyday rhythms of life” together. So we reveled in four wonderful days exploring Seattle’s Pike Place Market, looking for whales in Puget Sound, and hiking along the beach in Point Defiance Park.

Having lunch together in Friday Harbour, San Juan Islands

Our trip had a triple purpose. Amber and Ben have lived in Tacoma for 2 ½ years but we’ve only been out there once, and we wanted to celebrate their fifth anniversary with them. Our youngest, Jordan, was also relocating to Tacoma, and Mike took a few days off to accompany him on a father-son road trip via Yellowstone Park.

And our oldest, Adam, turned 30 this past Sunday. Our gift to him and his beautiful wife Liz was a surprise flight (for Adam, at least)  up from San Francisco to celebrate this milestone with his sibs and – double surprise! – his mom and dad too.

How thankful Mike and I are to be related to these extraordinary young adults. They joined us by birth, by marriage, and then by their rebirth into the living faith we hold in common.

Towards the end of Soma’s service on Sunday, small knots of believers quietly left their seats and partook of communion together – each one dipping the bread into the cup individually but then gathering to pray as community groups.

As visitors, we were momentarily unsure of what to do until Amber rose from her seat, motioned for us to follow, and led us in communion. As we formed a family circle to pray, my heart swelled in gratitude.

We are related in more ways than one, I thought. Our bond is symbolized by the bread and the cup that we share in memory of the One who died for each of us.

As a family we are part of the “communion of saints”  of which the Apostles Creed speaks.

A most holy communion.

One of the communion tables at Soma/Tacoma