The last thing I felt like doing tonight was going to another meeting. Today was miserable in almost every sense of the word, but I went anyway showing up
tired, hungry, and feeling worse for the ware. It wasn’t a church council meeting, though some of us were there, but it was a meeting to discuss a member of our congregation who wants the church to sponsor a family member who lives in another country. What country isn’t important, but know that it is a country that doesn’t mind that terrible things happen to their residents every day, and isn’t in any hurry to make it stop. In fact I’m fairly certain they advocate for the violence.
There were eight of us sitting around the table ready to discuss and debate the topic at hand, and that we did. For roughly 45 minutes we covered scenarios, dealt with insurance issues, if-then situations, liability, and potential liability. We asked questions, we got answers, we listened, we talked. We did it all, but really weren’t getting anywhere.
Then, amid all the discussion, a voice of reason spoke up, who to this point had largely been silent. She is the retired wife of a retired pastor, who also attended the meeting. I’ll have to paraphrase, but with her very kind voice said, “I’m not a business man like most of you around the table, but here is what I know. We are talking about a woman living in a country where over 80% of the women live with having been raped, they can’t go to school because it is not safe, and their home has been attacked 3 times. Christ doesn’t call us to live by things that might or might not happen, he calls us to live by faith. I think we all need to step back, and live by faith. We need to help this woman, and get her here to be with her family.”
What followed was a pause, the kind you hear when the tumblers of Christian logic all click back into place, or roughly 5 seconds. At that moment it became very clear that what we need to do is get this woman into the US! What a revolutionary concept!
Now all the discussion to that point had been valid, we needed to speak to the issues, but we also got lost in the minutia. Until she spoke we were going down the wrong path, which wasn’t the one that Jesus tells us to go down, living by faith. At that moment the discussion became more about how do we get her here, rather than the ramifications if we get her here, and something goes wrong.
It was truly a brilliant moment in at least two ways. Firstly, she got us refocused on Jesus, which is what we needed. Thank you! Second, what we saw was Jesus at work. This was never about us sitting around a table trying to solve a problem. This was us sitting around a table and not remembering Jesus, the head of the table. She righted the ship, and from there we took off.
One of the best parts of the meeting, a distant second to our let’s-not-forget-about-Jesus-moment, was our closing prayer. I’m reading a book by Jon Acuff called “Stuff Christians Like”
and last night I read about the rules for holding hands when in prayer. First of all, if you haven’t read his book, do so. It is some of funniest quips about Christian living that I have ever encountered, which explains why all I wanted to do was laugh during our prayer, which was an awesome prayer by the way. There we were holding hands in prayer, and all I can think of is that we should under no circumstances interlock fingers, or give the “squeeze” after the prayer concluded. One out of two wasn’t so bad; I got the squeeze from both sides. I didn’t mind even in the slightest, but my need to laugh was only tempered by my marginal claim to adulthood.
My take-aways from the meeting are that Jesus rules, and the Jesus rules. The first is that Jesus rules, and we ought not to forget that, ever. The second are the Jesus rules, mainly living by faith. I think we still might be sitting around the table had we not been reminded of our faith, or lack of faith, if you will. Consider this a little reminder that we are called to live by faith. This story isn’t over so I’ll be sure to keep you abreast of what develops. If it happens that I can make meaningful Jon Acuff references at the same time, then by golly, I certainly will!