I went along not knowing quite what to expect. People had said it was a good place to go and that the Church leader was a good speaker so I took my seat not really knowing what to expect. The New Life Centre as it was called, was a well lit modern hall – it had a pretty different feel to the kind of church pew, candles and stained glass windows of my own parish.
The music was upbeat and people joined in enthusiastically. A beefy man in a shiny suit with slicked back hair holding an enormous black bible stepped forward and began to speak. I have to admit that I took an instant dislike to this guy… he was loud… he was American… he spoke with such confidence and certainty that it irked me… I felt pretty uncomfortable and started to think about just walking out…
But as I sat and listened to his polished delivery,.. something happened.. I got drawn into the story he was telling.. he was recounting a story from the life of David.. not the well known confrontation with Goliath.. but another story about how David showed kindness to Jonathon’s son Mephibosheth who was crippled.
To be honest no one had really made the Old Testament come to life in quite the way this American preacher was. As he told the story I started to see how I was like Jonathon’s son,.. I started to see the relevance of the story in a very personal way…
I sat there in something of a quandry.. here was a man whom I disliked.. who seemed culturally out of step with everything in small town in New Zealand.. speaking in a manner that irked me.. and at the same time bringing the scriptures to life in a way that I had never experienced..
For months afterwards I went along every Wednesday night for what I discovered was called a bible study.. and I regularly experienced that strange mix of emotions..
Really the question was… would I be able to park my prejudices and learn from someone that spoke out of a different culture and out of a different church experience. Today I am so grateful for that foundational experience because I have come to realise that God is not bound by culture and denomination. He is working through people who love and honour him in all kinds of settings.
This week is Christian Unity week, lets take a step toward each other.
This is the LifeBlog and You are listening to Spirit Radio… Passion for Life