Our faith community meets in our furniture store.
There’s some advantages and disadvantages to that, but my favorite advantage is that it is undercover.
We have a loose schedule of events and a skeleton time frame that hardly ever gets heeded, but it’s us.
Sometimes things go as scheduled and sometimes they don’t. Tonight they didn’t!
Julie M. was in charge of bringing our meal. As she walked in, Dave and Bethany soon followed… well, Bethany soon followed. Dave was nowhere to be found. Julie B. came in and said that there were some people in a van outside and that Dave was helping them. A few minutes later Dave walked in with a van load of people. He began to introduce them to everyone else in the room and proceeded to show them where the food was. It kept going through my head involuntarily… “I hope we have enough food. Maybe I should put some of mine back.”
Well, we had enough food.
Turns out God had plans for our time together of which we knew nothing.
There were 4 young people and a mother and father. The father had a stroke some time ago and couldn’t speak, so he wrote most of what he tried to say. The mother spoke relatively plain English and was obviously the dominant figure in the family.
We fed them and got to know them. I then wrestled with the decision to go on with our worship time or to sit and wait for their ride to arrive. I did a little of both and eventually we ended up in the meeting room singing songs with the two youngest sons, the mother and the father. The man was in and out and the mother was obviously determined to stay for the entire meeting.
Earlier, while we were still eating, I had been curious what they were thinking. Then the mother said something like “I knew it vas God’s Vay”. Throughout the remainder of dinner, worship time and into our corporate prayer time, it became obvious that God, through the person of the Holy Spirit, was working on her heart.
She kept using the phrase, “It’s God’s Vay, I knew it vas God’s Vay”. She was right… it WAS God’s way!
She told us that earlier in the afternoon the family was struggling. There were arguments and misunderstandings. She couldn’t take it any longer, so she asked everyone to load up in the van and just get out of the house. On their way to Bed, Bath and Beyond the police stopped them and gave them a speeding ticket. After they left the store, as they were turning at the red light in front of our store, their loaded mini-van broke down. They were standing just outside the store in frustration and confusion when Dave found them.
It was a beautiful moment when she said, “I knew it! Our problems no longer matter… the ticket… the van… it no longer matters… it vas God’s vay!” She proceeded to tell us how she had been longing for a Christian group to meet with. She’d been hoping someone would invite her to a Christian church. She said she had lots of Muslim and Hindu friends, but no Christians.
We prayed for her husband and asked God to heal his physical struggles.
Next week we are having our worship gathering at their house. She is going to cook authentic Indian food for all of us!
May our program and schedule never be so important that we would dare turn down her offer. God help us!
Isn’t the church a beautiful bride… even undercover.
“A church which pitches its tents without constantly looking out for new horizons, which does not continually strike camp, is being untrue to its calilng. …[We must] play down our longing for certainty, accept what is risky, and live by improvisation and experiment.” -Hans Kung in The Church as teh People of God
“After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force… The movement is natural, arising spontaneously. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results.” -Ancient Chinese Saying
(both quotes come from the introduction to The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch)
…and the LORD added to their number daily those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:47b