Sharing a report I wrote about a wonderful breakfast we had some weeks ago with eight man from totally different backgrounds…
Our Dwelling Moment
See how good and how pleasant it is…
Just now, sitting behind my desk, I needed to recap the beauty of the moment.
Eight man; friends, family even and also brothers in Christ gathering around the table and having a breakfast.
The environment: A beautiful old Barn in the middle of the Woods. A barn that is IN THE PROCESS of being rebuild into a CAFE, a Christian environment for people to spend some time “outside the city”!
Why the Barn?
Well I had this longing to meet my friends, my brothers in Christ and… I wanted them to meet in the building process, the still not finished momentum, the “work in progress” of this beautiful old Barn. A place that already vibrates the Vision of my friend TJ to prepare a place where people can sit, meet and become blessed. And although the place is not ready, it reflects my passion to pull people into the process where they become a part of the process itself. Not to just help build but to become a builder.
We are so conditioned in being lectured by people who know it all and even are willing to “follow” their conclusion on life. We do that at home where no longer the farmer dad take us on the field or the baker dad no longer make us start up the oven (very) early in the morning. Home became an environment where the parents only present the end result and the teachers make us learn what they think is the truth. The Sunday mornings where we listen to our “Moses” as we send him up to “listen” and report what he heard “up there”! I hate those things as much as me and my wife have been so conditioned by this lifestyle that we, up till today, still struggle to do it “different”! So, bringing each other into environments where we are still observing the process, challenged by the impressions we have to be part of it or to just turn back unto the prepared tables.
We, each one of us this morning, where part of the preparing of the table… and I loved it. Marcus baking the pancakes, Mark the bacon, someone else the scribbled eggs. The coffee, the flakes, the milk the juice…
Well I know, people do that all the time so what was the difference, the thing that made it special, at least to us, The Eight!
Let me recap and summarise a the different words that has been shared from jokes, strong men talk, simple greeting and hugging to the sharing of heart and the Word.
First you need to know that we were there with the passion and longing of Psalm 133.
When Brothers Dwell in Unity
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
Friendship, brotherhood, nice moment, eager to get together and to learn from each other. But than there is this huge challenge, a part of the “getting together” that we so easily forget. It is the part where we bring up and even get offended as we talk about culture. I felt to bring it up and not as we mostly conclude to address the culture, but the challenge of us viewing them! My main reason is to become real, to talk the walk, to address the challenge in order to be able to dwell in unity and not just dwell and nicely tolerate.
As I bring it close to myself, mainly this is not just about Sweden and The Netherlands or South Africa, this is about cultures beyond that! It is about the family culture my wife and each grew up in. The standards, the way we did it, the values, the habits… As love brought us together and it was all so God in the destiny of our unity, it was this culture thing that made it almost impossible over the years. But, as Eric and Mark stated it so well, it was the will to die from where we were leaving from that eventually made us overcome and become united, One! As these differences were so stubborn, so strong, at the end, still fighting the strongholds every now and then, willing to be taught from a new thinking and transforming of the old mind, we grew into a oneness.
As Marcus shared that, although sometimes so challenging marrying this beautiful girl from the Netherlands, it was his love for her to be “taught” to change and to grow into a oneness that is beyond our own effort. The will to become one as they went into a covenant and overtime started to understand the ring, the symbol of covenant, they moved up to a level where the cultural differences, although still very obvious present, no longer are a blockage for the next steps!
Is addressing those differences a wrong thing?
No, it is, to me, a wise thing! It is wise to analyse the differences in order to understand the reactions without judging them or being offended by it. When you understand the environment where “the wife” comes from. When you understand the culture your brother is born in, you also understand how to communicate in a wise and loving way. I have missed that many times in my marriage. I have missed it many times here in my new nation. As a “missionary” not dwelling in your own, known culture, it is different from being just Dutch’ (or Swedes) among each other. But still then it is like Olle marrying Åsa… Different culture, other values and even sometimes very, very challenging. Mary and TJ, but even me and TJ…
So, guys, my main point of bringing it up and trying to keep that line over the morning, was to be real, to be honest! To learn without avoiding. “Being Christian” is not enough (sorry to say) to dwell and to grow into unity. It is understanding and building a new culture, a Kingdom culture were we all, after leaving our “world”, our Egypt (thanks Mark) through Love bear the differences and not avoid them. Through addressing them, learning why the wife says what she says, the brother does what he does, through that understanding we gain wisdom to live and walk covenant. The moment where I put on my “ring” as a visible sign and to say before God, “Yes, I promise till death do us depart, to walk with this brother or sister.”, that is where the body of Christ become a open testimony to the world.
John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
As we learn today to re-address, to re-think words like Family, Church, School and Community, through it it is obvious that we learn to re-read the Word. To get rid of the old concepts. To learn about covenant about salvation, about discipleship but staying close to ourself, Fatherhood, Husband, Man of Honour, Gatekeeper of the house, and so on!
And that is what I want to do with you guys. Besides dwelling, I am looking forward to Build His House together, from renovating and turning a old barn into a divine place of God’s presence, to painting your place, renovating your environment so God’s presence can dwell in your place of authority.
I loved to get together. I love to do it again and again and again. Where relationship becomes the standard, we grow beyond events and agendas. Where relationship is the truth, I want to know when you, your wife or your children celebrate that amazing day of being born. When relationship is my agenda, I want to sit at your table and listen to your history in order to build together His Story.
Thank you for dwelling and also thank you for your commitment to move with it through dying of self and of culture in order to show off His culture through our resurrection in Christ!