Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Brotherly Love


Last week I had lunch with a very dear friend and brother, whom God has used greatly in our lives. He and his wife have been what Barnabas was for the apostle Paul. Barnabas was the one that brought Paul into the confidence of the early church elders. This couple brought us into the confidence of many elders in this region. We've been in fellowship, friendship and covenant relationship with them for ten years, now.

For both of us, this lunch was a time to reconnect and get brought up to speed. In the midst of our conversation he asked some very sensitive questions, of which he felt that I was the only person he could direct them to and get honest answers, without being offended. He's White. I'm Black. We are worlds apart in life's experiences and therefore, our views can be vastly different.

He asked if it was true that the police stop and pull over African Americans for no reason.

I responded, "O' YES! I've been stopped by the cops just about all of my life. It's just a normal part of life where I grew up."

I gave him that response even as I recalled being stopped as early as 8 years old for merely walking down the street. All through my teenage years, young adult years, and right up until we moved to Harrisburg, being stopped by the police was just a normal part of life in St. Louis, Missouri.

I watched my dear friend's eyes become filled with tears as he observed the casual, matter-of-fact manner in which I answered him. In that moment, I knew why God had brought our lives together. My friend and brother was genuinely touched by the experiences of my life. He did not minimize my experience. He did not rationalize it away. He did not dismiss it with over-spiritualization. He did not try to offer any answers, reasons, or excuses. He simply absorbed my life's experience into himself and he was visibly moved by it.

He asked a couple of more questions, based upon my first answer, but those were matters of statistics and trends that neither of us could explain or substantiate. The key moment had already come upon us, though. I felt it was another one of those historical moments that happens in an obscure setting, but has powerful implications in the spirit realm.

Across this state, many are praying for brotherly love to sweep across Pennsylvania.

Well, this conversation was a manifestation of how that prayer is being answered.

Last week, we wrote to you guys about being unified in purpose and how coming together had to be much more than corporate gatherings that yield no fruit or change in our hearts and homes. Little did I know that the very next day, after sending that email to you, that I'd be sitting in a restaurant, experiencing another divine connection that would make a tangible impact.

I will forever be deeply touched by the look in my brother's eyes as I answered his sincere questions. What happened between us, in that moment, was the level of brotherly love, I know, that God will bring all across this region and state.

So, I encourage you today, to not only look to the huge corporate gatherings to experience these kind of moments, but look for God to invade your conversation with a co-worker or friend. God is going to set up one-on-one meetings like this, to break down barriers and flood our hearts, homes and communities with this kind of love and understanding.

Let His love flow through you this week. You never know who needs to drink from the overflow of your life.

Chris Green