In Surprising and Good Ways
Remember when plane trips included conversations with strangers (at least if you got on alone)? You never knew what being hurled through the sky in a tin tube might bring out in people. But then came computers, and earphones, and video screens—to leave us each in our own worlds. Privacy gained. But something lost.
I got on a plane recently, prepared for the journey. As soon as I could, I pulled out my computer and readied my earbuds, so I could focus on a sermon or something—lost in my own world. The person next to me took her computer out too, and then her credit card to buy Internet so she could get her own business done. But the third person in our row would have nothing to do with this. He wanted to talk. And so he began, first with my neighbor—all about his adventures and interests and life's work. I listened in, intrigued by how brash he seemed. After a while, my neighbor gave up on her work and gave in to the encounter. Pretty soon she was as friendly to me, too, and pulled me in. She even shared her snacks.
I learned about her fascinating work in sustainability technology. Turns out she works for a company that one of our own Pinnacle members once led. We then discovered that he is an orchestra conductor, and an active member of the very church I was heading to for a meeting. We knew several folks in common. We had a delightful conversation about sacred music, jazz masses, and more. He knew of Pinnacle, and of our sanctuary. I even own a CD he recorded! We went back and forth between three-way and two-way conversations. They were discoveries, each. And we even did a little touch of work here and there. It was delightful.
I know an elderly saint who told me once that whenever she enters a crowded place where she's going to be for a while, she prays for the people she'll be spending time with. She prays that they might be the people God would bring to her, and that she might be the person God might bring for them. In a world where we've become so lost in our screens and our business and our distractions, she seeks encounter, surprise, and blessing. I remembered her during that plane ride, and I resolved to do more of what she does. For on that trip I was reminded that the Spirit can bring us to each other in surprising and good ways, and in ways we would never predict—as long as we let Her. I hope we will.