We relaxed, some of us in the wingback recliners, with feet up; others sinking into the welcoming, cushiony golden leather of the couch. Lamps softly lit the big room at the back of our house where a small group of our friends gets together weekly for dinner and a chat.
We call it "cell group," because in our faith, the analogy of "the body" is used for a church community. So we are a small part of a body, a "cell;" in other words we're just a group of friends who love one another and enjoy getting together. And we encourage each other in life and faith.
Last night we were on our second week of studying a book by Royal Hamel. The book is called, Unmuzzle Your Inner Sheep. It's about freeing yourself to share faith--not about putting yourself out to graze!
We're enjoying the conversation the book has prompted. We talked about the struggle between obeying the "Great Commission" to share the good news of Jesus' life and purpose, and wondering how to do that effectively. Do we worry too much? Should we just do it and leave the results with God? Are we holding back a precious gift by not speaking about it more openly out of a wish to be polite? Should we just be open to when people invite such a conversation, or should we be more outgoing?
Then today I opened my big red Life Application Bible to tuck something inside the cover and a folded piece of paper with Mum's familiar handwriting made me catch my breath.
She's been in my thoughts because it is February, and it is two years ago this month that she fell ill, a few weeks before she died.
In her neatly slanting writing was a hymn she had copied out because the words meant something to her. When I went through her things after she died, I found pieces of paper tucked here and there; many with verses of scripture; small footprints of a faith she didn't talk about a lot; which just "was" and that she practiced quietly. I felt so close to her as I read the words written by her dear hand, that I pressed it to my lips--as close as I can get to her this side of heaven. And as I read the final verse, it felt as though she had joined in the conversation of the night before!
Father, I want to be with You
And do the things You do
Father, I want to speak the words
That You are speaking too
Father I want to love the ones
That You will draw to You
For I know that I am one with You