Towards Fresh Wine

Water’s Edge
©Beth Kennedy 2020

Some need renovation; others deconstruction. Some are renovating; while  many are consumed with the build.

Yet others, the quiet ones with no meeting place of sorts, know it is time to meet at Water’s edge for it is there that ancient pathways head towards Fresh Wine.

 

 

He sees the one

A beautiful person house sat for us while we were away for the Easter break. She is dangerous to darkness because she will listen and respond. She shared the most lovely testimony after we came home, a testimony that continues to show that God is the God that sees and cares for the one.

© Andrey Kremkov on Unsplash

Easter Sunday morning she knew she was to head into St Pauls Cathedral in the city. She got herself organised and caught the train into town.

As she stood on the station, she realised she did not have a mask (masks are mandatory on public transport) so she quickly checked with the stationmaster who informed her she could jump on and risk travelling without one. Many do. She thought twice and caught the train, believing she would be late if she went back for her mask.

Arriving ‘on time’ she stood outside the church with another woman and mentioned she had forgotten her mask. The woman looked at her and promptly produced a spare. A God provided the solution.

Mask situation taken care of, she then realised with a level of frustration that she had forgotten daylight savings ended that morning – she was an hour too early.

Irritated, she considered heading off for a city jaunt. However, as she walked she kept finding herself drawn back to St Pauls Cathedral.

Go to the service she would!

© Sincerely Media on unsplash

Sitting in the large church, she estimated that there must have been approximately 2000 people in attendance. It was not the usual type of service for her, and so she was interested to know what God was up to in the moment.

She tells me she enjoyed much of the service until she heard a loud snoring emanating from a source behind her. Turning with the many others, she noted a woman about 2 rows back whose bowed head was in deep sleep.

The noise irritated many around my friend. People ‘tut tutted’ and nodded at each other while glaring at the snoring perpetrator. Yet, not a single soul got up to waken the slumbering woman, regardless that the service was being drowned out with the sound.

My friend said she watched, waiting for someone to awaken the woman gently. Sure someone would help, she watched the ushers wander past to count the crowd. Not a single person moved to wake the sleeper, to help her avoid embarrassment.

© Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Becoming certain that this was why she had been told to head into town, she argued with God.

Someone else closer would surely interrupt her…

An usher will surely come to her help…

Surely a Church full of Christians would gently engage with the woman to help her wake and avoid the shaming she might feel upon waking.

My friend prayed someone closer would help.

Not a soul moved.

Compassion flooding her, my friend got up, walked back the 2 rows, and sat quietly next to the woman. Once seated, she whispered to the woman who woke with a start. My friend told her gently that she had been snoring, that she was not there to condone, but to sit by her side. The woman did not look at her and said nothing. My friend continued to sit by her side.

As a trained nurse, she recognised the woman was suffering with some form of mental illness. She had perhaps had too much sleeping tablet the night before; whatever the cause, she did not know that she had been making such a noise.

The beautiful thing was that once awake, the woman fully engaged with the entire service. She sang at the top of her voice and listened with intent. God was clearly engaging her heart.

Who knows the outcome of that single act of inconvenient obedience!

© Ben Eaton on Unsplash

My friend sat, now understanding why she had gone to the service.

God knew.

God had seen this woman.

A kind-hearted Father wanted a lone woman to hear, engage and most importantly be protected from the shame that would follow had she realised what she was doing.

God had seen and sent my friend on an inconvenient journey because…

God is Good!

Seeing through me to Him because God is Good!

My son had a birthday party last Saturday.  It was a sleep over party, but we had said we would collect him at 9pm and return him the following morning to continue the festivities.  The mum is recently separated, has three children (18, 9 and 7) and is best friends with her ex-partner.  She’s one of those beautiful people – those mums in the school yard that are beautiful looking, elegant, just gorgeous, in a laid back way, doesn’t try too hard way … you girls know the type I mean … beautiful!

My husband and I arrived just before 9 to collect my son and we were enthusiastically greeted by her, her ex, and his parents.  They were like this huge happy family and insisted we stop, have a glass of wine, say “hello”.

I had felt like something was already taking place when I had dropped my son off earlier that day.  She had insisted I stop and chat, which I had, even though I was a little perplexed why she insisted so and feeling a little intimidated I just went with it.  Similarly, I was intrigued with the invitation to come in later that night. What was God up to I had wondered as we walked in.  Earlier that day she had started telling her story,a young pregnancy, a separation, and her father had been a Presbyterian Minister.  I was pretty sure she didn’t attend church … she struck me as someone who was part of the trendy beautiful group that loved life and did not know Jesus …

My husband and I stayed and chatted.  They were all very very friendly.  They really were lovely people, and after 40 minutes had ticked by (I could have happily stayed, they really were lovely) we said that we really must go and get our son to bed.  We thanked them, collected our son and made our way to the door.  At the door the mum threw her arms around me and said (and yes I noted there was alcohol involved so the inhibitions were down) how much she had wanted to meet me, that she had watched me in the play ground and she had wanted to be my friend for such a long time.  I was a little shell-shocked at the statement because I am quite ordinary, but this is not the first time this has  happened. Time and again people have said “you (or your husband, or your children) have a light” … “you seem so nice” … “I just wanted to know you” … “there is something about you” …. it actually frightens me a little because I know it is not me but Jesus in me and I know that once they get to know me they actually realise I am indeed quite quite ordinary!  They are in fact  attracted to God in me.  It generally happens when God is doing a number on them  (see story Christmas shopping with Jesus … that particular mum said my husband and I “shone” and she wanted to stand next to us at the shopping centre, she was literally drawn to us across a crowd and got really excited when we approached her daughter in the wheel chair and then later when we came and prayed for her too).  And so, in this case I knew it was Jesus in me that she was drawn to, just as I did life, since I really have not been that overt in my son’s school in recent years …

The following morning we needed to collect my boy for church.  I felt to go as a family to collect my him.  I said nothing about church, I said nothing about our faith but I knew that somehow it would come up …

“On your way to church are you?  Where do you go?” she asked.

I told her it was a new church that we had just started attending after 21 years at another church miles away.  Another mum was standing there, one of the clique …

“Oh where do you go?” the other mum said …

To cut a long story short … the other mum went to a local church, having moved out this way from a suburb near our old church … and they had just left a church too … our old church … This second mum said she had not quite found “home” and wanted to know where we went … What are the odds … BUT GOD!

I laughed and told her where we were, and I explained that it was quite different to where we had both attended … our old church being like, as she described it, a rave at 4 am in the morning, but on a Sunday morning, without drugs, but alive with the love for Jesus …

The 1st mum laughed and said “oh one of those happy clappy churches” …

I said no, our old church was not really happy clappy but more like a mosh pit.  I said our new church perhaps would be more “happy clappy” by her standards (now please note … I love our new church and I love Sunday services …).

She then said “Oh I couldn’t do happy clappy … my dad was a Presbyterian minister you know …”

I thought “God is soooo doing a number on you” …

I then explained that our new church really was a little more sedate than a happy clappy church, and that maybe she could come along to our new church some time.  I explained we stood to sing, we did clap sometimes, but we didn’t tend to move out of our seats.  I went on to say there was no mosh pit, or even dancing really (except for last Sunday which is yet another God is Good story – a girls just got to boogie when the Joy of the Lord hits!).

I suggested she could come along and check it all out some time … and just as I said this the Christian mum’s husband walked in and said straight to mum 1 “when the Holy Spirit hits you can’t help yourself!” I laughed and we all said our goodbyes …

Now I don’t usually do the “get them to church to get them saved” deal any more, but if that was how God was working this morning then I was on board … hook line and sinker …

We left and had a wonderful day.  Later that night I texted to say thank you, but mentioned  nothing about church … God would do the rest … and He did …

The response came back by text

We all had such a lovely time together. Everyone is exhausted! It was great having you guys over. Just finished packing. Ready for bed. So excited!!!

[she was heading to Bali for a week the following morning].

Hope you had fun at your ‘happy clappy’ 😉

I’m coming next time! Xx

I smiled to myself and responded to the text, giving her back control over the timing,  “Let me know when you are ready” I said.  The invitation will be there nonetheless … God will woo her … I just need to listen do as He prompts me to do.

We will see what God does next!

He wants her home.  I can sense that there was so much about her that spoke of pain and sadness from the past … I knew not to rush in … and I know to wait for God’s timing, and I know He will call her home because …

God is Good!