There’s a lady that’s a regular at one of the places that I go to in the mornings for brekky. We’d been nodding and smiling at each other for a month before I went and sat down with her and we started talking. Now we catch up most mornings. It’s really nice. Yesterday we discovered that we know a lot of the same people.
She grew up one street from my parent’s, and her husband lived in the same street. When she was 15, my grandparents gave her a lift to and from a wedding. It was really nice hearing her talk about two people that I really loved. She said she remembers that my grandfather always wore a hat and had a great sense of humour, and my Nan had a great laugh. I remember these things too, although I would’ve said that Nan had a bizarre laugh (maybe she was just being polite).
The wedding that they went to was that of my grandparent’s, best friend’s daughter. She said she’d lost contact with them along the way and I was able to fill her in on where they’re at – the dad, “Harry” died 2 weeks ago. We talked about a lot of the families that live in my parent’s street. Most of whom have moved on, but there are a few still there. We also talked about how she came out here from England when she was 10, and I heard her story, where she’s from and how they came to live in Dandenong. She’s still in contact with a family that used to live in my street, I remember playing with their son before they moved away. I was around 7 at the time. We talked for over an hour about our mutual friends, and while there’s 26 years between us, these memories helped us connect more closely as friends. I also really enjoyed remembering people and places from my past and connecting them with my present, and how much has changed in me over the years.
I think I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve been making my way through the New Testament once again, and just like yesterday’s conversation, it’s reminding me that I’m a part of a bigger story. A story that has been in progress for centuries, since the beginning of time (and beyond). It’s reminding me that Yahweh has been about the same business all this time. He’s been calling out to His children and inviting them into relationship with Himself. As I read through the Gospels and now Acts, it been wonderful to watch how Jesus corrected people’s assumptions about his Father and invited people into loving, and meaningful relationship. I also love how he called them, and then sent them, telling them to do the same things, and how he made it clear that that’s what His Kingdom is all about. Freely receiving and freely giving. Such beauty, such grace, such love!
I’m also seeing once again that this isn’t about ‘doing’ but about living. He didn’t come so that we would just obey him (although of course that’s a part of it), but he came so that we may have life, and be his friends. So that who we are as his friends is lived out in the midst of not only those who know Him, but those who don’t. That we be about the same stuff that he is, that we, for want of a better term, ‘buy into’ the same story. Not because we feel compelled to, but because it’s a natural response to the love and grace that he pours into our lives.
In this respect we can neither be ‘inward-looking’ (aware mostly of our Christian families) or ‘outward’, but rather constantly aware of those around us and looking for opportunities to bless whoever it is that comes our way, whether they be brother, sister, friend, stranger or even our enemy. The story, the thing that we’re a part of, that has been going on all these years, the thing that we commit ourselves to when we become disciples of Jesus, as it has been for centuries, is to pour out the blessings and love that have been poured into us, upon any and all that our Father places before us.
This is the context into which the Christian enters.
This is our story.
This is our heritage.
This is what it is to be a friend of God.