Meanderings & Muses
I like to think that my public testimony falls right in line with my spoken testimony. I like to think that when I encounter anyone, they see Christ. But there are times, truth be told, that my outward testimony has nothing to do with my perceived reality of my spiritual state.
It was a few days before Christmas and I was at the grocery store with at least 45,000 (I am exaggerating) other last minute shoppers. Everyone had a frazzled look upon their face. My countenance was the worst. I had just left work, had several Christmas presents to buy, the house needed to be cleaned, the groceries had to be purchased, family members expected me to solve life’s problems and I was in a hurry!
As I was scurrying to the express checkout, my friend Keith Esch ambled up next to me and asked how I was doing. Truthfully I said I wasn’t doing well at that moment, I didn’t like anything that was happening in my life and I was in a hurry. He turned into the line next to me and said, “I think, maybe, this is the exact time for us to stop and chat.” With those words he stopped and looked at me with an expectation that I would do the same.
Now, imagine for a moment in the midst of a crowded grocery store, a perfectly peaceful and calm man standing next to the cartoon character, the Tasmanian Devil, who is spinning up a whirlwind, and you will have a pretty good impression of our encounter. My daughter who was with me tried to find a hole into which to crawl and just watched, as I stumbled over my excuses for my hurry – which I cannot remember.
But all the way home and throughout the evening, the calm and peaceful public testimony of Keith pursued my inner most being. What exactly was my hurry? What was so important that I couldn’t take the time to fellowship with a friend? Then it hit me; nothing, truly, was that important. I missed a moment of grace. How many did I miss as I allowed stress and chaos to rule my actions at the store?
As a follower of Jesus I have every right to fully feel the stress and chaos of exciting times. However, the stress and chaos does not need to run my life. Jesus has given me the freedom to move and have my being in him. But, with that freedom comes the realization that there are responsibilities. One of which is to act as if Jesus Christ does continue to move within the chaos of exciting times.
As writer, Bruce Epperly states, “We are connected and what we do can bring beauty or ugliness, growth or diminishment to those around us. Hospitality invites us to give as much consideration to the well-being of others as ourselves. When we “die” to self-interest, we are born to a larger, healthier self, and our world is healed one moment at a time.”
The encounter at the grocery store was a tale of two testimonies: Both spoke volumes.
I received a precious gift that day. It is a gift for which I am grateful.
Annie Glen – Communications Editor, Friends United Meeting
Being the Hands and Feet of Jesus – By Scott Wagoner
“Through us, God continues to come to the world as we incarnate the grace, mercy and presence of God.”
Kindred Courage – By Cherice Bock
“I still ask the question, ‘What do we do now?'”
Renaissance House: A Ministry of Restoration – By Micah Bales
“You’re being handed a hammer. Will you take it?”
Bible Study: SPICE: A Youth Curriculum – By Cherice Bock
“A Quaker curriculum for youth who youth are searching for a faith that is real. Learn about simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality.”
SPICE: The Friends Testimonies – By Joel & Cherice Bock
“Friends believe that not only can each person connect with God; but God can and does work and speak through each person.”
The Faithful Life of Ellen Stanley – By Thomas Hamm
“Because Ellen was by nature modest and truthful, she found it difficult to comprehend anyone who was not.”
Other Articles In This Issue:
Blessed Are the PeaceMAKERS in Ferguson – Joshua Saleem
Missions Movement: Growth in Uganda Yearly Meeting – Eileen Malova