I could see how someone could seriously get hooked on serendipity. Take, for example, the last 24 hours… I’m writing from a small boardinghouse/bed and breakfast place in Minneapolis, where we’re visiting with the purpose (ostensibly anyway) of attending the wedding of one of Sam’s former students.
When I was making reservations, I did so, in my ever-so-subtle introverted way. I looked up hotels. Nothing was all that affordable, so I threw the problem to my extroverted husband, who suggested a bed and breakfast. Okay. That means I have to share a bathroom, maybe, and probably meet people (shiver). Okay. So I googled, eyes rolling at my optimistic husband, and found this place, affordable, in a good location, and with good reviews. And here we are.
I am coming to the conclusion that this whole introvert thing is maybe my thorn in the flesh –because by stepping outside my comfort zone on this one, we’ve met not just a couple people on the way to the loo, but several people this morning at breakfast with whom we chatted and found more common ground than is really believable by someone who falls for the concept of fate. More interesting yet was our encounter this evening.
The wedding was this afternoon, and the reception was to have ended at nine in the evening. However, it ended about a half-hour ahead of (our) schedule, and we headed home, getting lost about four hundred times in the process. Upon our arrival “home,” I decided that I was in the mood for a soda, and there just happens to be a cute little grocery store, the likes of which you’ll probably find in about every college neighborhood in a city. So, I sat down with my book and “one more chapter,” which turned into …I don’t know, about three. Put the book down, and we left. Just by the door to the cute little college neighborhood grocery is a guy who looks like the sort who would play guitar in a subway station or work in a music store. He greets us, and hands us a couple CD’s …Glenn Kaiser Band being one of them. And there, we had church.
We met the guy and his friend, who were doing an outreach this weekend, as there’s some kind of hippie festival here in town, and also a major gay pride celebration. To a lot of people, that’d mean “run awaaaay!!” To these guys, it meant “Cool! Lots of people who need Jesus, and they’ve conveniently assembled in the same place!” So, we talked about ministry, ours and theirs, chatted about Glenn Kaiser and Jesus People, and prayed together. Right there in front of the cute little college neighborhood grocery, we had church. And to think that if we hadn’t gotten lost 400 times on the way home, we might have missed it. But no, we had GPS (get ready for the cheesy joke, I couldn’t resist) –God’s Provision System. Map?? We don’t need no stinkin’ map!!!
You see, people are the thing that I both love and struggle with. We are the church… So, that means I’m going to have to let go of this whole “I have a wall around me and that’s okay because I’m an introvert” thing and surrender to finding people not only occasionally interesting, but eternally important. People scare me. They are often nasty, cruel, unpredictable, mostly self-centered, and they are horribly inconvenient. But the root of the matter is that I’m realizing these things that scare me are all just symptoms of the damage done by sin, as well as evidence of my own sinful self-absorbed heart. Somewhere under that tangle of unpleasantness is infused a person made in God’s image. And I’m supposed to love that. Okay. One more thing on my “Stuff Bigger Than I Can Possibly Do” list.
Isn’t it a great thing that God was loving enough to not only give us an immensely important mission, but to make it so beyond our own abilities that we couldn’t possibly attempt it on our own with out horribly screwing it up? What a failsafe way to make sure He gets all the glory! That is what grace is all about. That is the gospel.