I sit in my study which has been cleaned and rearranged and made even more amenable as a quiet place to think, and write, and wonder about the world and life and people, and the days of hope that we, as Christians, so need in these times.
Summer is over. No canoe and paddling, for me. No river. No friends of the New Hampshire north country. But, many friends here. Family here. A chance to cheer for some, along their way.
We’ve visited Zion Baptist – and been inspired. We’ve looked in on Colonial’s gradual opening. So good to see the friends. They are the more precious as time goes on. There was prayer, and a couple of good hymns. Like “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” so loved by Martin Luther King, Jr. And, “How Great Thou Art.” Beloved on at least two continents.
We sat under the canopies, out beside Colonial’s Gardens. A couple of strangers came to welcome us. It was a happy, different time. Twice a chair was brought for the old man. It was a sweet thing.
I find it’s hard to “get off on the right foot” with people, when it’s all different, with everything changed, and people are working hard to make it be all right.
It’s hard to make anything be all right, when the weeks have become months that we must be wary of each other. “Don’t get too close. Keep a distance.” And we want to fling ourselves at each other, embracing all comers, “being the Church!”
Such a subtle thing in the above. Coming like Jesus into people’s lives. Standing by. Watching. Listening. Speaking words of love, with eyes of love, and heart of love.
Not so much organizing anything, as being something. Being “present.” Inviting others into your life. As in “Come, follow Me.” “Come, be with me for a while. Converse with me. Find out who I am.” Take the steps of friendship. Not being too brittle. Or embarrassed. But mostly interested.
People ask me, “What do you do these days?” I say, “Well, I see people. People who want to see me, just to talk, and listen, and uphold.”
One man, after we’d talked, and prayed, and eaten, and were parting, suddenly, uncharacteristically, reached out and hugged me. He couldn’t help it. But, his gesture said volumes.
Little things build relationships, that become bonds. The “ties that bind.”
These are good days for surprises. They are one of God’s specialties. Happy days for you, my friend. That’s my prayer.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES