Paul’s Footsteps #70

Footsteps #70

There is a river that abounds with God’s resources and from it, we can gather the refreshment of support, love, courage, wisdom, experience, knowledge, values, and companionship. These are the things that we need for the spiritual pilgrimage of life. It is meant to be, as God designed it, the community of faith from which we can enrich our own faith. 

Churches without friends are like winter landscapes. True friends are like the arm of God on your shoulder when the way is uphill and you are weary and heavy-laden. They appear, like stars in the night, when the summer dreams of the forest fade and the winter winds blow, and there amid the blazing snowdrifts, the evergreens emerge like lovely sentinels. There, dotting the winter landscape, the evergreens are like friends, born in the cradle of chaos, who remain after the storm’s coldness has traveled through the forest of life. Burden-baring friends that come amidst the trials and tribulations of life are gifts from God.  

When the landscape of my life changed 20 years ago, I experienced this miracle of Christian community. I was able to draw on the resource that God provided long before my need. There is no sun without shade, even the night is but a shadow and so when the dark nights of our soul come, and we find ourselves under the mountain of our troubles, we can either dig a cave or a tunnel. In the cave, we will become lost as we grope in darkness. In the tunnel, we can hope for the better side. It was in one of these dark nights that I experienced the river of grace that I had been flowing in all this time. 

True friends are like the rising of the moon when the tide of life is at its lowest ebb and the crabs are playing in the mud. It is the moon that reminds us there is a sun and a new day. It is the moon that brings forth the waters to fill the coast once more. It is the moon itself that waxes and wanes and reminds us that all nature has seasons and the heart must too.  

So, when does the church shine brightest? When it is the river of grace, and the arm on the shoulder of the weary. When it is the evergreens amidst the snow-covered landscapes in some body’s life.  Then, like the full moon, it is fully reflecting the light, and all its imperfections are lost in the splendour of its glow.

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