One Now...More to Follow
The parishioner approached the podium slowly and with head bowed in deliberate thought:
"Pastor, I want to thank you for this opportunity to share some of the struggles which Jesus has carried me through and to rejoice in His sensitive availability and keeping care.
I do this at the risk of sounding like just another one who is in love with the sound of his own voice, or who takes inverse pride in his adversities and survival.
But friends I am tired of remaining hidden as the programs of this church would otherwise allow. I smile and shake hands and sing when invited and gaze at the overhead screen and listen to the teachings and put into the plate.
I hunger for fellowship as it appeared in the First Church, for participation, for face-to-face ministry, for transparency, for real information exchange, so as to receive prayer and be able to offer up intelligent burdened prayer for others. This is how I see family working. But I do not see it here in operation...yet..."
(The speaker went on briefly to particularize a privileged youth, a Churchy tradition, a professional designation, a young marriage and family with promise; but then conviction, an honest first-ever look at Calvary, a business failure, bankruptcy, estrangement from parents, a change of cities "not knowing whither", a string of uncharacteristic blue-collar jobs, an unsettled church exposure, reconciliation with loved ones. But Jesus always gently, patiently, heroically in the background to the present day. And His Word a constant nourishment. His Spirit a thrilling companion.)
"I venture to say that this short presentation has given you more of an ability to relate to the speaker than you possess now regarding the people on either side of you in the pew. This ought not to be. And friends, this speaker is not moving on down the road as do all of the called-in faith celebrities who bless briefly this podium. This speaker remains to listen to the next speaker give his or her testimony. To receive Pastor's ever-deepening revelations on the scripture account, warnings and promises. To grow in relationship. To undergird. To serve joyfully. To exercise the agreement in Christ which will heal this fellowship and astonish this community with Good News.
Thank you for hearing me. Soon I may hear you. Jesus WILL enter into this."
(John 17: 20, 21)