Lucy Talsma reflects on her experience of ‘doing life’ with a family-centred intergenerational home group and what it has taught her about church and grace.

Before I went to Carey Baptist College and moved up to Auckland for two years, I had been at the same church all of my life; I had grown up in the one place among many of the same families that formed our church congregation.

And over that time, my family was, and continues to be, a part of the same intergenerational home group. Some of the families that were a part of our home group have since moved to different places around the country. We’ve become scattered and we’ve also added new families to our number, but every year we all come back together and simply celebrate our togetherness.

Family camp

Every Labour Weekend we all go away on a family camp and we’ve been doing this for over 15 years now. When all of us kids were younger, these weekends were packed full of activities, the sole purpose being to tire us out so we’d go to sleep early. But now that we are mostly all adults, it’s a lot more casual and the weekend is more focused on just spending time together.

And this weekend is one of my favourite weekends of the year! Some might think of it as a bit cringey, looking forward to a weekend of hanging out with not only my friends but also my parents and their friends, but we have fun together.

We do full group walks and play silly games together. Last year we even played golf together for about five hours! All of these things that I never do any other time in the year but, on Labour Weekend, we all make time to do these things together.

Then, on the Sunday night, we always have a small and simple church service. We sing some songs and then the floor is opened for anyone to share, before we simply spend time praying for one another. Kids praying for their parents; friends praying for friends; parents praying for their children. Often tears are shed and many hugs are given. But as I experience this setting, I look around the room and smile to myself, thinking, “This is church. Grace embodied and grace celebrated.”

Embodying grace

What makes life that much better is being able to do it alongside other wonderful people who embody grace. And I’m sure that you all know that people can be both the best and the worst at the same time, and church can be far from perfect. But the people are also what make this world and our churches so beautiful and dynamic.

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. The people, the people, the people.

We are all far from perfect; we all need grace and we all need to show grace to one another. And we don’t always get it right, I know I certainly don’t, but at least we get to learn together.

So, when you find those people in your life who demonstrate grace embodied, treasure them, because they are God’s gift to you and they are the most important thing.

Story: Lucy Talsma

Lucy is the teaching and preaching pastor at Hamilton South Baptist Church. She is married to Josh and they now have two great kittens, Tracey and Gail.