Creating a Learning Network for Community Builders!
I had a wonderful family koinonia dinner last night- I will give you the cliff notes highlights- my sister was not there as she was away this weekend- significant weekend- she was in our prayers and we had an empty chair for her to remind us all she was still very much part of our family koinonia focus- my mother in law- who is 75- is growing in Christ in amazing ways, a testimony to all those 70+ plus year olds out there who think their work in the kingdom is done- God is never done working in our lives and growing us into our new selves- she shared a witness she delivered to a young girl cutting her hair and I am beginning to see this wonderful pastoral, teaching side I can connect to (having that persuasion myself)-
My wife shared how she prayed more to God this week at work and kept his presence in her work life- my daughter read from 1stJohn and Psalms 118- Mumzy prayed a blessing on my wife- My wife prayed a blessing on Nela, and I prayed a blessing on our family and gave thanks for all God has done with our little family-
Ok- so that is the cliffnotes of the family koinonia dinner- but so much more happened- many of which is unsaid because it really is about the volumes of growth we experienced loving one another in Christ-
I asked Mumzy to do a prayer of blessing for Jena- I am not sure she understood what I had in mind- her prayer really was identifying who Jena was to her in her life more than a prayer of blessing on her- I almost interrupted her, but I remembered Dietrich Bonhoffer’s warning- let people pray freely- so I said nothing, allowing her to pray freely- so happy, so grateful for that connection to Dietrich Bonhoffer, a member of the body of Christ martyred in Nazi Germany in 1945.
God is good- because again and again He works through our ‘mistakes’- she didn’t understand the blessing prayer (however, it turned out to be true blessing prayer more significant and deep than the ‘correct’ blessing prayer I had in mind), but her prayer was moving and significant- and she gave me a great teaching I could apply to the daily struggles in my life and my wife could apply- and my daughter could use to be prepared for the disappointments, the burdens this world puts on us-
Here is the meat of our family koinonia time- they devoted themselves to the Apostle’s Teaching- my mother in law ‘teached’ it well and helped me significantly grow in Christ-
My wife plays the Bassoon. Sidenote- she is adorable playing her bassoon- she has been playing the bassoon since she was in junior high- My mother in law had a teaching that just flowed out of her prayer about that bassoon and its connection to my wife-
Every day, my wife picked up that bassoon, in its case, and lugged it to school- she walked to school- it was heavy and cumbersome- but she carried it- it was a major burden on her-
There is my wife walking with this bassoon, this burden, faithfully every day without fail. She not only carried the burden daily, she did it with cheer, without complaint, for she knew the promise, the blessing of the burden-
Imagine if she was walking to a music recital, with this heavy burden, and she labored and lived in the pain and the weariness of carrying this bulky case. Imagine if she had cursed this burden, become bitter at its weight and its unwieldiness. Maybe it swings and knocks her in the shin, causing her to tumble to the ground, skinning her knee, bruising her arm.
How could a burden like this be any good for her? It is slowing her down. She could walk much faster without it. She might not have so many bruised. She would arrive not winded, refreshed and ready for the recital.
I am assuming you see where this is going-
Imagine if my wife lived in the earthly pain of this bassoon’s burden on her life and she simply put the case down, abandoned it, stood up, unencumbered, feeling good, refreshed, walking with greater speed and ease. Imagine if she kept walking right to the recital, without her burden.
She would arrive without a bassoon, of course. The whole purpose of the recital, to play music with her bassoon, the love that drove her to carry that burden in the first place, would be unfulfilled. She would be refreshed. She would be free of bruises. She would be without song.
Mumzy was more succinct, unfolding a whole host of deep meaning and layers of God’s truth in a few simple sentences- She walked to school every day with her burden, her bassoon case, and the burden was the blessing in her life- Let her keep carrying her burdens so they can lead to your blessings.
God is good- is awesome- and how He moves in our lives is a testimony that what emerges is His work, not ours- Mumzy had the privilege of being God’s vessel, of healing her daughter and her son and her granddaughter in God’s truth- so we leave that family koinonia dinner a little stronger in our faith, ready to live out James, to face hardships in joy, for we know that it is our burdens that prepare us for our blessings, so embrace them and have faith that the Lord is guiding you to a recital hall where your burden becomes a bassoon that allows you to play a wonderful new song in praise to Him.
I love God more and more every day because He shows me and my family His great, unfathomable love over and over- always amazing us- always surprising us- We have been given a great gift that came through God’s many vessels and I praise Him and thank Him for what our family is experiencing- I praise Him and ask Him to guide us to witness God’s love to others so that families can be healed and brought to His center- I thank God for Juanita Berguson, for Johnny Berguson, for Dora Collier, for Bill Collier, our little Family in Christ that prepared me to love deeply the rest of the body of Christ, that prepared me to love deeply not just my wife and daughter, but my mothers, my sisters, and the body around me.
I thank God for the many people of Tioga County I’ve been privileged to serve and be served- Josh, Ryan, Jean, Sierra, Roceo, Dr Joe, Martha the machine, so many more that God has sent to me to build me up in His love and prepare me to be able to see what I am seeing with my family in Bethlehem, Pa.
I thank God for Michael and Sippora Moon, who showed me Shabbat and witnessed to me the peace and rest of the Lord that exhorted me to call my family together to share in this peace and rest. I know that all that has happened with my family, and all that will happen, is a testimony to the power of God’s love working through a connected body of Christ. I know what a privilege it is for me to be one of the few in His kingdom to be shown this great blessing of God’s connected body. If ever I forget myself, if ever I labor angrily at my own burden, I pray I can walk in faith in His promised blessing, a blessing of His love, not things, not wealth, but love.
I am seeing His kingdom more and more and I grieve for a nation that can’t see it, that can’t come close to touching this deep love promised in Ephesians 4.
I know I am digressing, but I am so filled with joy and praise…..and anguish. My joy is for me and mine, my anguish is for the unconnected body. I want to end this journal entry with a powerful message from a great man of faith, a brother in Christ lost to us a year ago, David Wilkerson, one of the great prophets of his generation- it is a call to be prepared- there is a darkness coming, and God has a light if we can but connect in His love-
Time was short a thousand years ago- it will always be short- whether Christ comes back tomorrow or a thousand years from now, time is short for everyone around us. whether we miss the invitation a thousand years before Christ's return or on the day of his return, it is anguish to imagine that missed invitation to His Kingdom- I will have to check out Carter Conlon