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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Meeting the family!

I can still (vaguely!!) remember heading towards my first meeting with the parents of the young girl whom I had been dating (and who has now been my wonderful wife for more than 41 years!!).  It was a rather daunting prospect.  Would they like me?  Would they think that I was good enough for their daughter?  Would they be impressed - or otherwise - that I was a student of Divinity?  I need not have feared.  All turned out well.

I thought of that earlier this evening.  I had been to one of 'my' Police Stations to meet with the shift that was going on duty at 1800 (that's 6.00 p.m. for those unfamiliar with the 24-hour clock!).  I was there in plenty of time and, knowing that the civilian staff, and most of the senior officers would not be in the building, I made my way to the Sergeants' room (sergeants, in my opinion, are the back-bone of the Force!).

One young sergeant was particularly conversational - and seemed to be very interested in where I had ministered; in my having been a teacher, and a chef.  I endeavoured to answer all of his questions as fully and frankly as possible (well, this was a police officer!!!).

After I had spoken to the shift at their muster, I went back to the Sergeants' room where my "inquisitive" sergeant was still working.  It was as we continued to talk that I discovered that he is working part-time, and also attending a Christian College in the south side of Glasgow.  He belongs to an evangelical Fellowship, and has connections with St.George's-Tron where my dear wife and I first met, and where we were married.

Suddenly our new relationship changed.  This young man was no longer 'just' another officer - this was a brother in the Lord; a member of the family of God.  What a lovely surprise for me.

My mind also went back to my days in the Merchant Navy.  I always attended the "Divine Worship" service that was held on board ship if we were at sea on a Sunday.  However, I looked forward more to those occasions on which we were in port on Sunday, when I could find a Christian fellowship (denominational tag was irrelevant!) and worship with others who truly loved the Lord.

It's one of the wonderful things about being a disciple of Jesus.  One may find family members around any corner; down any street; in any town.  The motto of the Keswick Convention is words from Paul's letter to the believers in the province of Galatia: "All one in Christ Jesus" (3:28).  That's the 'cord' that holds my new friend and I together, and that makes us brothers.

Of course, that family includes believers in Pakistan; Nigeria; Sudan; Egypt; Columbia; Kazakhstan; China; N.Korea; and some fifty countries around the world where the followers of the Way are persecuted - even to death - for no other reason than their faithfulness to Him.  They, too, are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and the least that I can do is to uphold them in prayer before the throne of grace.

I trust that you will do the same!

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