Knit Together

by Pastor Dan

This story is from what I like to call my “jungle journaling” during my time in Peru.  

As the noise from the generator subsides and the jungle’s noises emerge through the silence, there is a small group of people sitting around on wooden benches under a thatched roof enjoying a conversation. You see, the discussion started almost 12 hours ago when over 50 pastors and church leaders along with their spouses (and their children running around outside the building) began a time of training. Now, under the cover of darkness on those same wooden benches, I am sitting there with a group of five other pastors reflecting on the day. Sometimes that is quite a challenge because of the different worlds in which we come from. My world is a more fast-paced world; moving around in vehicles on roads, restrained by time and a to-do list. Their world is a much more laid back world; travel being by river, their clock not nearly as demanding, with the main concern being where the next meal will be coming from.  

Now the discussions go from training to conversations of family, conversations of fears, and conversations of worries. As we are sitting there talking, one question emerges that really caught my mind and my heart. One pastor was sitting there almost in tears. He looks at me and, through the translator, says this: I may not remember all that you taught today. I may not remember the scripture passages you shared. I may not remember how to do some things that you're trying to teach me to do. But I will remember one thing: this time here, our conversation, and the encouragement that it brings.  

As I sit there with my thoughts going in a thousand different directions, I am reminded of these verses in Philippians 1:6,8-9: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.”

As I look back on that night in the middle of the jungle, no worries, fears, language barriers, darkness, or jungle noises could compare to living in the moment of building relationships; relationships that run deep into the heart, that find the connection with each other even through diverse backgrounds, and that make connections that are knitted for a lifetime even though we are not always in each other's presence. I think about this conversation a little more than 16 years ago because it was the first of many powerful conversations. I also dream of what would happen if these conversations would be a part of our everyday life here in the United States. You know, the scripture tells us that God knit our hearts and designed who we were when we were in our mother’s womb. God knitted our physical bodies to show the beautiful creation of who God is, but he also knitted our spirit to connect with his spirit in relationship with Him and others, regardless of background or ethnicity, with a desire to seek and long for a connecting heart. This heart has the passion to grow together in relationship with each other and with God.  

I think the older I get, the less answers I have. But I still have assurance of one thing: God loves me and wants me to share that love with others. Are you willing to join me?

Pastor Dan