Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Greenhouse

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1 Peter 2:5 (New International Version)

5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Sacred ground, that's what it often feels like--for within these walls God's work goes on and his Kingdom advances.
I think of it as a greenhouse where saplings can grow sturdy--a safe place where the atmosphere is steeped in prayer and the peace of God can seep into a soul. There is nothing comparable to feeling the breeze of his Spirit as he is at work in someone's life.
It was about 25 years ago that I read Edith Schaeffer's book about the organization in Switzerland that she and her husband Francis founded in their home--L'Abri--French for The Shelter.
L'Abri Fellowship began in Switzerland in 1955 when Francis and Edith Schaeffer decided in faith to open their home to be a place where people might find satisfying answers to their questions and practical demonstration of Christian care.
On the L'Abri website it says, "As our cultures find themselves further adrift from God, we’re grateful that...decades after the writing of Edith’s book. L’Abri remains a spiritual shelter for all in need of spiritual direction, for all seeking meaning and purpose in life. We are now living in times when the centrality and significance of Christian community has arisen like a phoenix..."
To create a similar place of shelter and hospitality became my longing and now I look around--he has given me the desire of my heart.
Last night a group of writers who are Christian gathered. What went on was not just about writing, but about ministry to one another's souls. Intense conversations were going on in every corner with the concentrated energy of those who had stolen this precious time out from busy lives.
The night before, another group gathered to share a meal, read from a book and discuss it--and pray.
A guest is with us from Germany--she tells us she is "on her way" to God. God's gentle work is ongoing in her and it is a beautiful thing to witness.
An uncle just arrived from England--he too needs a place of shelter and refreshment--for different reasons.
Sharing life, breaking bread together, supporting one another--exploring faith and growing in it. Is there anything better this side of heaven?
Ephesians 2:22 (New International Version)
22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

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