I met with the Mormon Sister Missionaries again on Monday. One of the two I had met before, the other I hadn’t. But if I was to take them as a new pair, they are the 5th pair I have met since last summer.
With each meeting, I’ve stayed focused on Jesus. I’ve chosen not to focus on our differences, but to simply share Jesus together and let him be the great unifier. Each meeting has been great, with Jesus central and I’ve left each time knowing that he has shared himself as he wanted to.
On Monday, something wonderful happened. One of the sisters said something that was deeply profound and encouraging. After the other sister had talked about the book of Mormon, the sister I had met before said this:
“You know the problem with this book? Everyone sees in big letters at the top “The Book of Mormon,” but we should cover that up and focus on the next bit, which says “Another testimony of Jesus Christ.” Because it’s not about different denominations. It’s all about people meeting Jesus himself, and about us being the Body of Christ.”
I thought that was a fantastic thing to say! That’s why I’m still meeting with them. I don’t want to limit sharing Jesus because of the things we don’t agree on. My choice is not to judge, but to see Jesus in them. We agree on Jesus, and that’s enough for me.
And that’s what I’m finding with others too. People (those outside of the church that I’ve grown up in, with the way that things are done that I’ve known most of my life) being knitted together in Jesus himself. Him being what holds us together. Loving one another because he is Love within us. A pure and very real simplicity, without all the complications and politics. People not joined by natural preferences, likes, or interests, or even a common cause. Not those who are part of the club, nor those who are the easy ones to like. But those who are held and knit together by Jesus, with a genuine Love at work in them for one another that is Jesus himself.
The Sister is right. We have to let go of our cliques, our walled fortresses which allow us to reach out but don’t let anyone in. The places we move out from but then retreat to so we stay safe. We have to do away with our one way mirrored windows, which allow us to view others and see them as we perceive them (and not necessarily as they really are), but don’t allow them to see into us, for fear of what they may find. But if we live conscious of Christ in us, what do we have to fear? They will see Jesus himself. We have to meet others with Jesus as the focus. Christ alone.
I realise this is easier said than done. We might talk the talk, until one day Jesus says, “I want to meet someone.” And you know that whatever else you do, you must sit and wait for that one person who Jesus waits for. The person who challenges your limited thinking. Who not only challenges but breaks in to your comfort zones and behaves in them in a way that makes you uncomfortable!
Last year I mentioned Jack (remember, not his real name). I’m still waiting for Jack. We have a place that we both go to. Sometimes I’m there and he’s not. Sometimes he’s there and I’m not. Sometimes he doesn’t turn up when we’ve agreed to meet. Other times we meet. And he’s started to turn up unexpectedly in Aldershot when I’m there on a Tuesday. And still Jesus says wait. I know that in the past I would have stopped waiting a long time ago. I would have given up on Jack. But you see Jack doesn’t have anyone else who will wait for him. But Jesus will.
Through Jack, Jesus taught me (and still is teaching me) to wait for the one. To let him sit at the well and meet the one he wants to meet. To be faithful as he is faithful. Do we realise what it means when we are faithful to a person who doesn’t have anyone else who will be faithful to them? They meet Jesus. The one who will never leave them or forsake them.
And through what I’ve learnt with Jack, Jesus has given me opportunities to meet others who I have to wait for. Those who Jesus wants to meet. Those who others don’t have the time or desire to wait for. He has taught me patience way beyond my own ability.
He’s taught me to wait for the ones that others have let go. To truly love those and welcome those who in the past I would have kept at arms length.
The Sister is right.
The walls must come down. People need to meet Jesus himself. To be conscious of Christ in us.
Eat the Bread, drink the Living Water. Let Christ be himself in you.