This past weekend was busy in a restful way. :) Saturday late morning, I rode up to Jugendhaus with Helmut to pick up his friend. This was my chance to see the mountains, but also to pass a few interesting landmarks: Heidi’s village and the principality of Liechtenstein. The view was gorgeous, and it was fun to see several familiar faces from the day I visited ISTL in Zurich. They were having their end-of-the-year retreat together.Over the course of the weekend, I had the privilege of hearing a wonderful man from the Middle East share about the truly amazing things God is doing there. Thousands of refugees come each month with nothing, and his church welcomes and feeds them despite the cost and risk. For the first time in history, Muslims are going into churches there because this is the only help they are finding. The Christians simply welcome, serve, and help them; and after time many are open to hearing the Gospel! It was amazing to hear God’s provision as well as supernatural ways He has revealed Himself to those attending. Even the (>93% Muslim) government is publicly commending this church because of their actions!
As I considered this church’s actions, I was reminded of the passage of Scripture I had read that very morning. Though I read it in a different version, the Message translation of Ephesians 5: 1-2 exhorts God’s people to do just this!
color: black; font-style: italic; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
color: black; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This man and I discussed how we can learn from others’ examples by the way they handle themselves in situations and by actions that aren’t always what comes naturally, but are right. I shared with him about the British/Swedish man we met on the bus the night our flight got canceled in London.
color: black; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Exhausted and stressed, there was a lot of us who were sent with a very unofficial-looking voucher for transport/hotel/meals. Even though I was a bit skeptical, there was nothing more to do. As feared, the bus driver not-so-kindly refused us entry onto his bus because it was operated by the city and had nothing to do with the airlines. The Frenchman ahead of us was arguing, and I tried to explain that the lady had assured us we didn’t need anything else. That’s when a young man walked up, gave the Frenchman the 5 pounds he needed, and said “How ‘bout I pay for you, and you just call me a good guy?” That’s when I realized I actually had 15 pounds left, which was enough to pay for me, Helmut, and the girl behind me (neither who had any pounds left).
color: black; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">What was more humbling is that we found out that this man, unlike us, had no hotel or meals covered by his airline because they’d run out of the allotted amount due to the large amount of canceled flights that day! And worse, he’d just bought $150 worth of alcohol which he would not be able to take with him the next day because of them being liquids!!! And with all this, he wasn’t complaining or cursing the airlines or “powers that be”; instead he was helping others...us! I was so humbled by his attitude. I’m not sure if he knows Christ; but he is an example for us in how we should “learn a life of love.” Whether on a city bus or a refugee camp, may we we learn to love the way that God has loved us.