Multi-ethnic pile of handsThere was a time in my life when I would pass over sections of Scripture because they were beyond my understanding. At the time, I didn’t understand how serious God was about our being faithful stewards of the mysteries of His kingdom. I didn’t realize that there were things hidden for me to search out. I also wasn’t aware that He had a “way” of searching that would open up the mysteries of His word. I call this way: The “and” of searching in community.

I discovered this way through a contrast of meetings that providentially happened within a week of each other. In the first meeting, I saw – even felt – the tension rise in the room when the teacher introduced the topic of baptism. At least half the participants moved to the edge of their chairs waiting, it seemed, to hear the teacher say something that they did not agree with. I am convinced that their ears were closed to hearing, and the Spirit was grieved.

The second meeting was a blessed contrast. As with the first, there were people from various denominations. I am sure that each had a different understanding of the topic: Communion. But their hearts were softer towards God word, and each other. They were not looking to be right. They just wanted to know the truth; and knew they didn’t know it all.

The scripture that was introduced was Jesus’ claim (in John Chapter 6), to be the bread of life that must be consumed by those that desire to have eternal life. It was asked, “What did Jesus mean when He said:

… Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. John 6:53-56

After some consideration, one brother said he wasn’t sure, but thought it meant “so and so” to him. The next jumped in and said, “And it means… to me.” A third, “And it seems to be saying…”

To be honest, I can’t remember what any of them said about the meaning – because the Holy Spirit was focusing me on the “and” of their hearts. At no time during the conversation was “no” or “or” used. No one corrected or disagreed with the others. It was truly amazing; so amazing that I almost missed the most amazing thing:

In the midst of searching out the matter in loving community, this passage – that had so long been a mystery to me – was given meaning, somewhere deep in my heart. I couldn’t explain what I understood (that came later), but I knew something that I had not known before. The word – that word – became alive for me.

In reflection, I was reminded of Paul’s encouragement to the church in Rome:

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another… Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:3-5, 10, 16-18

Since that day – at least three years ago – I have not been in a meeting of kindred minds and hearts where I did not hear a word from the Lord. Where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there (and He has something to say).

Humbly yours and forever His,