Yesterday, we had a visitor at Calvary. Oh, actually, I’m certain that we had more than one visitor, particularly since it was a holiday weekend, but we had one visitor who sat with me and talked to me and frankly, left me in a complete state of awe.
We had a visitor from Beijing, China. Now you might say — Great, wow, that’s really far away! Far is nothing for Calvary…we regularly have visitors from all over the world. But not all of our visitors are people who must risk their lives and their livelihoods to follow Jesus Christ.
But this visitor does risk everything, every time they pray the Lord’s Prayer, particularly when they pray in any kind of a group setting. You see, this person is a member of the Chinese House Church movement. Out of respect for this person and everything they must do to worship, I will not tell you anything about them personally, but I would like to tell you the the gift that I got from that visitor.
On Independence Day, I got to share my worship with someone who has no freedom to worship — someone who must literally live in a spiritual community with fellow worshipers, so that the government cannot observe them entering a “church” about to participate in an “outlaw” religion; someone who could lose their job and possibly their freedom for following the call of their heart.
And I got to experience the great faith in this person’s prayer and song; and to see the amazing look on a face that had not know the experience of worshipping in a large community. And best of all, I got to have a great big hug from someone from a million miles away, culturally and geographically, who shared with me the most important experiences of my life — the experience of worhip, prayer, and faith.
And so, Lord, I got the special delivery gift. Thank you for the reminder that I lead a blessed life, surrounded by ease and with all the choices that any human being could possibly ask for, at least in the things that matter. Thank you for the reminder of the strength and the power of your message. Most of all, thank you that my “house” church is a wonderful place of welcome, for the stranger, and for the friend.
By the way, you know how this person came to be with us yesterday? You’ve got it….the web site. Just thought I’d say…