I got this email this morning from and friend of mine in England and I love it. This exactly how Jesus knits his family together. And wouldn’t that be the best way for him to do it? He doesn’t need facilities or long-term planning. He can at any moment bring two or three of his flock together and anything can happen that lightens a load, encourages someone’s journey, or just blesses them in a wonderful way even if they never cross paths in this life again.
Here’s the story in Robin’s own words:
I’m so thrilled and excited at what I’m learning about community that I had to share it with somebody, and as you understand some of these things, well, here it is:
Because the institution has taught us to see things in tangible ways that can be seen and measured and controlled, I think many times we encounter God but don’t realise it. Real fellowship and community is the work of the Holy Spirit. He causes two or more people to interact and edify one another in ways that affect us for eternity.
For instance, my wife and I were in New York earlier this year. We went shopping, which I hate but cooperated with graciously, but as we left the mall I noticed a large guitar shop (actually, I noticed it on the way in) and I my turn for a bit of recreation: a chance to play on a really expensive guitar which I could never afford to own. Well I played a bit of blues and noticed a black guy next to me joining in with me. When we finished we got talking and it turns out he was originally British but had lived in the States since the seventies. So we discussed everything British from a sixties/seventies school boys perspective. The TV shows we watched, soccer, music, we remembered it all.
After about 20 mins, another black guy around our age came over and joined in the conversation. He too, was a Brit who’d lived in the States since the seventies, and had originally also lived in North London, just a couple of miles away from where the first guy had lived. We were all amazed. We all continued to chat about England in the old times, and about the changes that had occurred and how things had turned out.
After what might have been an hour, I came to say goodbye to these guys who I strangely felt I knew in a deep way. It turns out that both of those guys are believers and there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord orchestrated our meeting. He had gathered us together and He had been in the midst. Even though we’d not opened in prayer, sung a hymn or even mentioned God (not until we left at least). We had had had communion in the Holy Spirit that impacted me to such an extent that I can’t talk about it (or write) without shedding a tear.
Then I ask the question: how often has the Lord brought me in contact with other believers whilst travelling; at the bus stop, on a train, or in a shop. And as we’ve chatted He has ‘ministered’ to me and through me, as we mutually encouraged one another?
That leads another question: is it possible that knowing that the other person is a Christian can actually hinder real fellowship? Sometimes as soon as people find out your a Christian they go weird on you; the defensive or religious.
All that makes me think I’ve possibly been having more community than I realize. And that the biggest hindrance to real fellowship could well be me. Ouch!
In the past month or two I’ve come across a bunch of Christians who live within five minutes walk who struggle with attending church and who see things very much as I do. They are fairly new believers but their faith is refreshing in many ways. They are always in each others houses, sharing stuff and looking out for one another.
I often miss my wife and long to be with her in China. I miss China. I miss my friends there. Many times I have asked, what am I doing here?
I think the question should be: What are You doing here, Lord?
And the answer to that is: a whole lot more than we realise!