Eric (“Hammer and Nail“) and Alice (“Thinking as a Woman“) drove up from Savannah to spend the weekend with us. God is teaching us how to share our home as well as our lives with those he puts in our life. It was a joy to spend time with Eric and Alice and their children.
Eric and Alice and their family once lived near us. Eric was one of our elders. Over the last year, they have moved out of the country, then moved back to Savannah so that their son could undergo cancer treatment. We saw Eric a few months ago, but we had not seen Alice or the rest of the family in almost a year.
We learned something very important this weekend – something more important than sharing our house. When they arrived Friday night, it was almost as if they were just coming to visit like they would before they ever moved. We continued our relationship, discussing our children, our jobs, and our common walk with the Lord. We have talked on the phone and Skype in the last year, but this is the first face-to-face talk. But, God has kept our hearts bound together in him.
I’m beginning to think that this is what fellowship in the Spirit is all about. Even with Eric and Alice we have differences of opinion about certain things. We don’t agree all the time. But, we are one in Christ. We are family – brothers and sisters. We love one another and care for one another. Our love and care and concern doesn’t surface because we agree with one another. Instead, our love and care and concern demonstrate themselves in spite of any disagreements that we may have.
Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that we fought all weekend, but we still love each other. That’s not what I’m talking about. In fact, there were no fights at all. We listened to one another. We cared about what was going on in each other’s lives. And we remembered that in many cases, our personal opinions are not as important as encouraging our brother and sister toward maturity in Christ and comforting and supporting them in times of hurt and need. We did not find it necessary to hammer out all of our differences, because they become very insignificant when we focus on our unity in Christ – our fellowship in the Spirit – our common relationship as children of the Father.
How can we argue about the crumbs that fall to the floor, when the Father has spread a gourmet meal before us? How can we fight about the different nuances of our beliefs, when we share a common inheritance that will never fade and never fail? The Spirit testified to each of our spirits that we are children of God, and we spent our time enjoying our common fellowship with the Father in Christ through the Spirit.
What a joy! What an abundant life! And, now, we wait expectantly for the times when the Father decides to allow our paths to cross again… when we can once again share our struggles and pains and joys and heartaches and victories and trials and hopes face-to-face. We will continue to talk on the phone, and send emails, and comment on blogs. But, as I’ve learned, there is nothing more dear than sharing a few moments, and a few words, and a hug with brothers and sisters who are far away, but who still impact our lives.