[Part 7, Chapter 47]
“I’m sorry, he’s been moved to the hospice.”
That was a shock. I was visiting my mate Wegs. He’d been chairman when I was senior pastor at Para Vista, and we’d enjoyed some rich times together. Now, here he was in this ward from which they say there is no going home. “No,” Wegs said, “I’m getting ready for my real homecoming.”
“Wegs, before you get too puffed out,” I said, “let’s cut through the surface stuff. How are you really? Inside, I mean. In your heart, your soul, your feelings.”
As he often had, Wegs surprised me.
“Peter, I can honestly say, last Sunday night was the best night of my life. My wife was here, my sons and their partners were here, I was surrounded by my grandchildren, Stephen and Thérèse were here, and we shared communion together. My whole family was gathered around, everyone was praying and crying, and I thought, ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.’”
The favour of community. And what a flavour it left Wegs with.
“Every night,” Wegs continued, “one of my sons reads the bible to me, and the other one reads the devotion. They are learning from me. This is one of the best times.”
At the funeral, one of those sons told me he has taken that devotional book home and is now reading it with his children.
Can you smell the flavour?
Jesus knows favour is experienced, sustained, and released in community. Having declared he has come to bring the year of favour, his next move is to call twelve others with whom he is going to journey for the next three years. That’s the favour of community.
Another mate of mine was facing a huge challenge. We’d been on the phone most days, but the phone still had us 1,000 kms apart. Wondering how he was holding up, I rang him, only to be met with a resounding, “Peter, the joy of the Lord is my strength!”
“Man, it’s great to hear you like this. What happened?”
“Well, I went around to Ian and Judy’s. We shared our burdens, we unloaded to one another, we got gutsy and down to earth and real, and we broke bread together. Rather than feeling awkward that I’d divulged too much, I came home full of joy. Peter, it was absolutely beautiful.”
He had experienced the favour of community.
A pastor friend of mine lives in Queensland and has a regular video connect with another pastor in Victoria, 2,000 kms away. They do it to share their hearts and sustain their joy. It’s the favour of community.
Who are you journeying with? We can sit back and bemoan we don’t have that person, or … we can be that person to another and experience the joy that will be ours as we also then have someone to journey with.
Community favour. You can initiate it. Not only will you bless others, but you will be the biggest recipient.