A Gracious Encounter

As some of you know, I tend to join the Greek Orthodox community in Swift Current when they hold their monthly worship services.  The Greek Orthodox priest travels out from Regina once a month and meets with the Greek community in our city, culminating in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.  I enjoy the ancient worship, the practise of God’s presence encapsulated in this tradition.  I’ve related a little from previous experiences in other posts.

Last month when worship moved from the formal service to the fellowship around the tables in the basement (I’m sure I’ve mentioned elsewhere, but Greek worship is always followed by a full meal because in preparation to receive Holy Communion, and in devotion to Christ, they don’t eat for the 24 hours leading up to Communion), when we proceeded to the basement I entered a few good conversations with different friends.  These conversations were at different levels, too.

In the one case, one family had a baby at the same time as my son Andrew was born (well, three weeks before – but close enough!).  We like to compare some stories of child development.  At another level, one young man expressed an interest in a RCMP member (whom I am chaplain to) who has now moved away.  And then I had a chat with one Greek gent (you’ll notice that I’m not saying names – that’s on purpose) and asked him if he would read Greek with me sometime.  He said he would.

So this past Monday I went to one of the many Greek restaurants we have in town.  Cindy, Aaron and Andrew came with me.  I had, in hand, two sheets of paper: two copies of the same Scripture passage from Mark 10.  I handed one copy to him, and he read it through – which led to him inviting me to sit with him and review it with him.  I have to admit, I don’t read Greek as quickly as he does; I’m more concerned with parsing vocabulary than he is (which is probably true of all second-language users when compared to native speakers); I felt like I was being given a real treat.

Don’t underestimate the opportunities that God puts in your path; don’t overlook the Christian brothers and sisters that you meet; don’t get too stuck on which tradition people hail from.  The Lord builds His Church wherever His people gather together in His Name.  As I left the restaurant he called me over one last time to tell me how to apply the passage to my own situation.  What a blessing to study God’s Word with this Christian brother!

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