Jesus spent time with people. That is a simple and profound truth. The incarnation is about Jesus spending time with people. His God-given nickname Emmanuel illustrates this “God with us”. Jesus spent time with the multitudes. Jesus spent time in the synagogues and the Temple with religious leaders. Jesus spent time with sinners. Jesus spent time with His disciples. Jesus spent time with an inner circle (Peter, James and John). He did not spend equal time with all people. His ministry shows his priorities. He got in a lot of hot water for spending time with sinners and this seems to be a priority in his ministry, but the biggest chunk of Jesus’ time is spent with his disciples and particularly that inner circle.
I am spending a lot of time with people. I hang out with ‘the sinners” quite a bit. I feel quite at home in this group. A lot of this time is spent in the crowds with only moments of personal interaction taking place as ‘grace opportunities’ happen. This week though I have had some great chances for deep one on one conversations. We are experiencing a bus strike here, which disproportionally affects the poor. T. needed a break from a distressing domestic situation so I gave her a drive to her daughters. P. needed to go to the hospital in Moncton for brain surgery and I drove her. M. is a prodigal story. She hadn’t been home for years. I had the chance to drive her to her mother’s where she will see her favourite aunt she hasn’t seen in years. In each case we shared deeply with one another in ways we just can’t in the crowds. I spent hours with these three wonderful characters instead of spending that time with the multitudes at our drop in at chaplaincy. This week confirmed to me what I had been thinking for some time, that spending time in small groups or one on one must be my priority. This is why “Over Comers” is one of my favourite times of the week. We are a smaller group who are serious about following hard after Jesus and discovering the wholeness that comes from Him alone. We are blessed with a wonderful team of volunteers so that the ministry with the crowds can happen without me, for the most part. In the new year I’ll be seeking more and more opportunities for this type of ministry.
We are celebrating the Incarnation this year with Up Town’s 2nd Annual Christmas Day Brunch. We mark Jesus’ coming to spend time (dwell among us) by spending time with those for whom there is no room in the inn. I am grateful to Stone Church family who are letting us use the hall even while they will be having their Sunday Service at the same time, in the sanctuary.
Tonight we have a local fiddle group preforming at our drop in. They will be doing a Christmas set. The ladies from All Saints Church are bringing the lunch. A generous donor has provided resources for our Up Town Church family dinner. We usually have stew (Merry Christmas Stew You) but this year we will have pizza delivered. This is a real treat for a group who get a bit tired of Turkey this time of year but rarely have pizza.
I’m sorry I missed last week. I had a touch of flu but I am much better now. Have a blessed Christmas time. <>< Reed