So today I went to this little gathering of the church at a friend's house. We had an amazing pot-luck brunch and great conversation. Maybe 10 adults or so, and half a dozen kids.
(note: I've edited the following paragraph, because I realized that in making it so long, it could appear that I was supporting the Masons, which wasn't my point in writing this. If you want to know more about why I wrote about this, see tomorrow's post!)
Later on, one of the men told us about the Masons. Well sort of. He's a non-practicing Mason, I guess you'd say, though he was a "master" in the past. Actually, mostly he told us about the beauty of mathematics. Things like Fibonnacci's number and how it turns up all over the place in nature. Pretty amazing stuff; sure makes you appreciate the order in the universe and the One who created it. He talked about how discussion of religion is a "no-no" topic at the Masonic Lodge but how there's this "God" thing running through it all. He said that's what attracted him to it. I think he was seeking God, and he felt like he was finding Him there, in those underlying currents. He also said he was brought up Catholic, and he could relate to the use of ritual in seeking God.
See, this is NOT something I ever expected to hear discussed about with the church. After his talk,
he let us ask questions. Like what about all those secrets? And a lot of other questions. About the Masons. Asked at church.
And nobody freaked out. Or got up and walked out. Nobody seemed to feel threatened. The conversation was friendly, open, honest.
And with the questions, the conversation got around to our freedom in Christ, and how we've been freed from ritual. And how truth is a Person, not an end-point you arrive at by going through a lot of levels - or a lot of good deeds, or anything else you might do to "arrive." And how we are one in Christ, and there aren't some people who are "holier" than others. And how He is the Head. And we all have access to ultimate truth because we all have access to Him. (And I'm thinking to myself afterwards - in Him the greatest secret, God's eternal mystery, has already been revealed! How awesome is that!)
And this past-Mason guy was listening intently to that whole conversation. And asking his own questions about what he was hearing. Hearing the gospel clearly.
So after awhile, this conversation led to someone telling us about a friend, an MAF pilot, who just died this past week in a plane crash, and left behind a wife and some children, too. And how even in the family's shock and grief, there was joy because he had been walking and working with Jesus, doing what Jesus had for him to do. And then that led to other folks bringing up needs they had on their hearts, and that led to a really natural and communal prayer time.
And discussion about what do you do about elders in your family who really need to be in care, but don't want to go there... and it turns out that almost everyone there is in the midst of that situation. So there was lots of conversation around that, and it was awesome to realize we aren't alone in these kinds of things. That others are going through them too. That it's okay to say that you feel frustrated or angry or whatever. And then we can encourage each other. And find ways to help and support each other.
And it came up that the people whose home is usually used for the Sunday gathering would be gone next Sunday (being Canadian Thanksgiving holiday weekend and all), and nobody seemed worried about there not being the usual gathering at the usual place.
Maybe someone will volunteer their place before next Sunday, and let people know, but if they don't it's not a big deal, so far as I can see, because these folks get together in lots of different ways during the week anyway, so a "Sunday service" missed (on Thanksgiving Sunday! imagine that!) didn't seem to be a huge concern :-)
And then everybody started chatting with each other. Some wandered into the kitchen. Some hung out in the dining room. Some still in the living room. Some had to leave, but they didn't get out the door without caring good-byes.
I like it!