I found myself a foreigner in another church tonight. Well, not really a foreigner, I guess, but I did refer to myself as ‘an invader.’My friend, Kate, attends Radiant Church in Richland. She had extended an open invitation earlier today via Facebook and I saw it and quickly continued my very slow and painful torture by PowerPoint. As I left the office this afternoon, she walked out and I asked her if she was going to church. She mentioned she was and what time and I said I’d let her know if I could make it. I wasn’t really sure what my plans were aside from getting another friend home and going for a run.
My friend Kim and I wound up chatting for a while and I started the drive home and didn’t feel like stopping to change. The thought of holing up in a small McD’s bathroom to change into running clothes just isn’t all that appealing. So, I took back roads and enjoyed the beautiful sunlight on my drive home. I got closer to home and just felt like I needed to go to church with Kate.
When I got there, I found her seated next to her daughter and another friend. We played a little game of musical chairs and I eventually sat down between Kate and her daughter Celia’s friend, Natasha (I hope that’s how she spells it).
Celia wasn’t sure she wanted to sit on the end. I know that feeling. You aren’t sure who might end up as your seat neighbor and it really does feel like it could be the end of the world. She made a couple funny faces and everyone offered to take her spot before she finally resigned herself to the surprise that awaited. I told her that I really could sit there … I was the invader after all. That’s when Natasha said she was actually the invader.
I told her I highly doubted it and asked her where she came from. Thinking back; that’s a pretty big question to ask a young lady but I guess I expected her to say that she was a frequent Radiant attendee. She looked right up at me with big, beautiful brown eyes and said, ‘Well, I come from the Ukraine. But now I live in Delton.’ I couldn’t help but laugh given how our little conversation had started.
As the service got started, the amazing Radiant band gathered on the stage and began to play. I didn’t immediately know the song but I was able to pick it up along the way. What made the reason for my attendance entirely clear was when my new little buddy lifted her hands along with her voice and just flat out praised God. I literally got goosebumps. I think it all goes back to that idea of being an invader, a foreigner.
Jesus acted as an invader here on Earth. He wasn’t of this world and asks us not to be either, actually. He asks us to accept the gift He gave us … the gift of salvation. When he came here, as Pastor Lee described, his sole purpose was to complete the mission God had laid out. He finished ‘it’. And there is nothing left for us to do but to be covered by that grace and to share it with anyone willing to listen. (I say that because I know some people don’t want to listen. For those folks, I hope my actions reflect my love for Him.) So, Natasha, thank you for sharing your faith with me. You probably didn’t realize how impactful it was for me to be your seat neighbor. I also appreciate you complimenting my tattoo. That made you even cooler. You are clearly not of this world and I sure hope you stay that way.