So much has happened to everyone since last year when all the church meetings here in the UK stopped. Although our church was able to invest in new equipment and do amazing YouTubes of the services, and new people were even added to our number during that time, there were some older people who did not have computers, smart phones or ipads, and they were left out as they had to isolate from all contact with other Christians. While some of us ‘oldies’ struggled with the new technology of zoom and were eventually able to have weekly meetings on screen, there were those who were not able to join us.
Imagine the delight in having a meeting face to face with their old friends after more than a year! On a bright, sunny Tuesday afternoon, Paul and I opened our garden to a group of fifteen and served tea and scones (with jam and cream). We were able to hug one another and chat as much as we liked for several hours. It happened to be one lady’s birthday and so we had a card and a cake, with a candle to blow out, and sang to her.
Eventually we started singing the first verse of several well-known hymns and chatted in groups of three about our favourite bible verse before praying together. We were grateful for the technology which enabled most of us to keep in touch, but one person had joined our fellowship group during the Lockdown time, and she was teased about having a body and not just a face.
I think one of the biggest lessons I have learnt from last year has been the message of 1 Corinthians 13 that the greatest of all things is love. I found out I could do without hairdressers and new clothes and going to the shops. I could do without the excitement of travelling on planes or in cars. I could even go without dentists and opticians. But the value of simple human contact and relationships cannot be overestimated. Of course, as a married couple, Paul and I are so grateful for each other, and for our immediate family, but we are ready to enjoy chatting to a wider circle of friends now.
The Bible tells us ‘Love never ends’ (1 Corinthians 13:8). ‘For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). God made us for relationship with Himself and with others.
I have just discovered a beautiful hymn written by Fanny Crosby, called ‘And I shall see Him face to face’. ‘Some day the silver cord will break, And I no more as now shall sing; But oh, the joy when I shall wake within the palace of the King! And I shall see him face to face, and tell the story—saved by grace; And I shall see him face to face, and tell the story—saved by grace’.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your promises in the Bible that I shall be with You in eternity and that every tear will be wiped away. There will be no more loneliness, sorrow, fear or boredom. I will even be like Your Son Jesus, as I see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). Help me to walk in close fellowship with You and with those You bring into my life every day of my earthly pilgrimage. Amen.
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