Sean: What do you think it was about Jesus that attracted people to him?
Visitor: Probably wasn't drugs so was he giving away women?
Sean: That's one possible explanation but I'm inclined to think it was something else.
Visitor: Herbs and spices?
Definitely not your average bible study.
We celebrated Paul's birthday. And we would have celebrated James' too if he'd been there.
Afterwards another visitor asked me what sort of cake it was; I told him 'just sponge'. He ate it and then declared, 'That wasn't just sponge; that was wonderful sponge like my mother used to make.'
Oh yes, I make a tidy sponge.
As last Sunday was the first in the month we had our monthly gathering, which turned out to be unusual for me. We hadn't long started when Paul, who was standing outside chatting to Nigel, stuck his head around the door and said, 'Can we have a lady out here to talk to someone?'
I looked around expecting someone else to get up but realised I was closest and couldn't really offload it so went out. And then spent the next 30-40 minutes sitting in the foyer with a distraught individual. I had no idea what to say so, as I sat there, I prayed, 'Please, God, give me words to say.'
He didn't. Which I think was probably right. My role was to listen, let the individual talk. And I don't think any words on mine would have fallen on receptive ears anyway. But at least I don't think I said the wrong things, which in itself is a miracle.
And I didn't make a joke. Why would I make a joke, you ask, in what was obviously a non-funny situation? Because it's my natural response. My writing tutor used to tell me off because after I'd created a poignant or dramatic scene I'd go and spoil it by throwing in a joke. I don't deal well with bad or sad. Sometimes, depending on the situation and people, a joke is fine; other times it's the worst idea in the world.
So in this instance I didn't joke or say what I felt like saying about the person who was causing so much pain. ('You tell me their name and I'll send the boys around.')
But this was the fourth instance of 'something different' since I've left Linden and committed myself to Zac's, the latest example of what it means to really be church and demonstrate Jesus in the community, to be truly involved. It's scary but I love it.
Daughter sent me this video about empathy and I was trying to recall what it said on Sunday.