It’s early'ish in the morning. I have a nice cup of hazelnut-flavored coffee beside me. The hot coffee is in a mug bought in a tourist shop on the island. It has dolphins and starfish all around it and the words “Barbados” written across the bottom of the mug. Yes, I did succumb, for one moment, to being a tourist. Or maybe make that two moments!!
I find myself reflecting on the places in the world that I’ve spent time in, led mission trips to and visited teams on the mission field. I am compelled to say that Barbados is probably the most beautiful. It is small, so getting around is easy and we don’t have to deal with lots of traffic. The weather is beautifully sunny every day and, although there are heavy rain showers almost every day, they never last and only serve to freshen everything up and make it look even more green and tropical.
But what about why Laurie, Retha, Barry and myself are here? Is it just a nice spot in the tropics to while away the time?
Or is something meaningful, life changing and eternal taking place?
The answer, of course, is that we are most privileged to be living our lives with the folks of Barbados Grace Fellowship. They are hungry for God and are teachable. They love each other and us.On Sunday 8th November, we were asked to be responsible for morning church. (We will do this twice a month and also on Christmas morning). We took our theme from Mark Ch. 2:1-12. This is the account of the four men carrying their paralyzed friend on a stretcher and lowering him through a roof to bring him to Jesus.
Let me pause for a moment. Have you ever found yourself in a place where you have felt paralyzed, perhaps with fear or dread? Or your circumstances have been so difficult that you were unable to move forward or backward? Who were your “stretcher bearers”? Who were the dear folks who brought you to the feet of Jesus so that he could minister to you?
These were the questions that we asked on Sunday morning. We moved everyone into a large circle and asked that they would consider a time that someone had brought them into Jesus’ presence when they were unable to come of their own accord.
What followed was a wonderful time of sharing as people opened up about Stretcher Bearers had impacted their lives, broken through their circumstances and brought them to Jesus. We gave them cards and pens so that they could write notes of encouragement to others and so become “stretcher bearers” themselves.
We finished our time of sharing by recognizing that there were times in our lives when God himself was our Stretch Bearer: a time when He would allow no one else to carry us but himself. Perhaps a time when Jesus said. “Come to me.”
I absolutely love the way Matthew 11:28-30 is expressed in The Message.
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
We stayed in our circle and shared communion together. Later, we were very encouraged by people’s responses to our rather different way of doing church.
Hopefully, you now have a little insight to what church was like last Sunday. We really enjoyed being able to contribute to the life of BGF in this way and are anticipating many more times of Sunday morning fellowship with our wonderful new friends.
For The Wave Team and BGF. LOL.