The Bible Study I love so much was over. The sun had risen and shone into the patio at The Hilltop. I had just barely made it. The crowd of last week was much reduced. Fourteen of us were there, fitting well the neater arrangement the restaurant had prepared for us.
For half an hour this ever-motley crew told their stories, intense, personal, about their faith, about moments of transformation, about encounters they’ve remembered for 40 years. A few quivering lips. The look of truth on every face – especially on the faces of those with a story to tell, or a prayer to ask. Without embarrassment they opened their hearts.
Jesus was already there. So, it didn’t matter that we staggered from one storyteller to another. It was what we had come for. The minister could wait and lift up Jesus as he’d planned. No one protested. They listened intently. They knew why we were there. The Jesus part would come.
And it did. So, we came full circle. Those who’d reported they would need to leave early, did so. Sweet prayers were said.
I gave them my notes, on Jesus and the Kingdom. The discussions of the great identity. “Who are you? had been the question of the hour. “Are you the One Who is to come?” The answer was yes. Some were shocked. Others rejoiced.
The King had come – but oh, how disturbing that was. It did not frighten my little group. They wanted the Truth, the hard Truth.
And, so it ended, and little clusters formed – of folks, who didn’t want to go.
I had planned to move from The Hilltop to Jerry’s and its welcoming Starbucks restaurant.
I would sit alone. Get my coffee, maybe write a little. Or, just see what would happen, who would come.
It did not take a minute for a silver-haired man to rise from his table and greet me. An old parishioner, of course.
Later, he stepped away from his table to mine. He had a message to give, of something he wanted me to know. “Many years ago, you came down the aisle in church, and gave me a gift. The gift of faith, for me, and for our family. We’ve never forgotten. I want you to know, and to thank you.”
Very simple. Very short. But, important to him, and to me. Testifying to Jesus coming into his life, and the difference it had made.
We laughed. I thanked him. He departed. Not part of my plan for the day. But a gift, nevertheless, to me.
You just never know who’ll come along. An old friend. An “angel unaware.” Made my day. And my life.
Keep on the watch. You’ll never know. Praise God.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."