That Community Moment when your neighbour asks you to pick up a Sunday paper

It's been a beautiful sunny winter day so far. (Aside for the grammar aficionados: according to this site, the names of seasons are only written with a capital letter when the season has been in some way personified, as in I was captivated by Winter's stark beauty / Summer's shimmering heat / Spring's unfolding beauty (dang it, already used “beauty”; never mind) / Autumn's something-or-other-something: you get the idea. Sorry, rather a long aside so soon in the story.) That being so, and being still in holiday mode, and, what's more, being in need of a replenished stock of old newspapers for various purposes domestic, I decided, unusually, to stroll down to the village shop for a Sunday paper. (For anyone confused by the “old newspaper” allusion, I should explain that the said domestic purposes range from shoe polishing (not that I polish shoes with newspaper; rather, the newspaper acts as a base on which to conduct the polishing and to collect the inevitable bits of polish, mud and other detritus) to mopping up water that accidentally leaks through the back door when not properly closed. It is a fundamental necessity of domestic life that one must have a stock of old newspapers to call on. One cannot, by definition, have old newspapers if one never acquires, at some point, new newspapers. And since we do not, as a matter of course, read a newspaper then our stock, last supplemented in about 2011, inexorably shrank until the point of disappearance. Sorry. Another long aside.)

Let me add that I genuinely wished to read the paper; the domestic stock replenishment would be merely a happy side-effect.

Anyhoooo, as I walked the few hundred yards to the shop, be-hatted, be-scarved and be-gloved (grammar aficionados make of those constructs what you will), I passed our friend's house. Theirs being an old property that sits right on the pavement, I easily spotted my friend in the kitchen and she waved. They are the neighbours we know best and have quite a close friendship with. Days before, she had called round and left us a fabulous Christmas gift (pictured), so I seized the opportunity to trot across the road to thank her for the gift.

Our Christmas gift

I explained the mission I was on and she asked me if I could do her a favour and buy her a copy of The Sunday Times, should one be available. As it turned out, there were none (I too had intended to buy a copy of TST but settled for The Independent on Sunday), so I duly returned her cash.

As I made my way home in the sunshine, I was struck in some admittedly vague, fuzzy way by the uplifting combination of the weather, the wave across the road, the request to buy the paper, the friendship we have with our neighbours, and the fact that she bought us the picture (which is full of Bible truths) although not (yet) believing herself.

So what's my point? Nothing profound – just a tiny occasion, a confluence of circumstances that I wanted to remember and thank God for. And to ask Him to bring about more of these Community Moments at home, at work and in church.

 

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Things You Didn’t Know About Jesus: The universe would collapse without Him

It being the fourth day of Christmas I guess what I ought to be doing is figuring out where I can buy four calling birds to give to my true love. On the other hand, I can’t help feeling she’s not over-enamoured with the French hens and the turtle doves flapping about in the utility room (the feathers and…other stuff get everywhere) and the pear tree in the lounge is just not working…

What I’m actually doing is sitting in my dressing gown and a Santa hat (yes I know that sounds weird but it keeps one warm when sitting under a draughty ventilator – another story for another time – and it’s the only time of year one can get away with it, OK?) having just read, and been greatly enamoured by, Colossians 1:15-24.

At Christmas there tends to be an understandable focus on baby Jesus. ‘Tis important, the incarnation of the divine Son of God, an’ all – but what’s also mind-blowing is to be reminded of just who this child is / was / will be. And one of the things He’s always been and always will be, to the proverbial end of time, is the sustainer of the entire universe (need to resist the temptation to add an evil laugh at that point – y’know, lots of echo and “mwah-ha-ha-haaaaa!” – as that would be completely inappropriate). So, yeah, without Jesus Christ your world, and mine, would collapse, implode, cease to be, end in a cataclysm of literally Earth-shattering proportions, dwarfing the best of Dr Who, Star Trek or {insert favourite sci-fi here}.

How do I know? ‘Cos it says so here:

Colossians 1:16-17

for through him God created everything

in the heavenly realms and on earth.

He made the things we can see

and the things we can’t see—

such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.

Everything was created through him and for him.

He existed before anything else,

and he holds all creation together.

There you go. When it comes to universe-sustaining, Jesus Christ is, as they say, the man. (And, in this unique case, the God.)

Time to check out H. Samuel for five gold rings…