Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sunday: A Big Surprise

I'm writing at what has turned into my usual table (it's the table with the glass of Diet Coke in the "short reflections" video) and waiting to order lunch. When I went to get on the elevator I met an African bishop and I asked him where he was from. He told me he was from the Sudan.

He was polite, but reserved, quite reserved. He asked me where I was from. I said I was in CANA and I lived in Virginia. He looked at my quizzically. I said, the Convocation of North Americans, set up by the Church of Nigeria. "I am an Anglican in Virginia," I said.

"You are Nigeria?" he said. I said, yes, CANA is in the Church of Nigeria - I am an American in CANA. We have separated from the Episcopal Church.

Suddenly, he stopped. "You are one that has broken away?" he asked me. I told him yes. His face lit up. "You are standing for the Gospel," he exclaimed, and he brightened and his eyes grew round above his great smile. And we talked about the Lord. He got very excited and told me how the majority of the Americans he's met at Lambeth do not understand. You could see it weighed on him. He gave me a blessing. I thought I was going to start crying right there in the lobby. I was the one honored to meet him. I couldn't even speak. I've done nothing, he's done everything - but he would hear nothing of it.

I am right now more thankful than words to be here, right now, here in this place. I told him I had met Bishop Daniel and appreciated so much the things the Church of Sudan said at Lambeth. His smile was so warm, so filled with Christ, so father-like. "You know Bishop Daniel?" I said, yes, I had met him and appreciated him very much. The last thing he said to me was that he had to tell his wife, "I have met an American who is standing for the Gospel," he said and he went off to tell his wife.

And I have met a man who lays down his life daily for the Gospel. What an awesome and unexpected gift. Thank you, Father. Thank you.


robroy said...

BB, you each blessed each other and now by telling the story, I and many others will be blessed as well. Thanks.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

TLF+ said...

Suddenly thiking of old-campy-Adam-West-Batman-fight-captions:
Ka-POW! Wham!

What a powerful intrusion of Grace in the bureaucratic hell you are covering.

Kevin said...

What a wonderful story, what a sad story!!

Well, BB, you help give a cold cup of water to a parched bishop fighting the good fight.

Bless the LORD for having you two meet.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit that my eyes teared up reading this. It's seemed to me, and what you wrote confirms that.. there has been an attempt to isolate the African Anglican leaders attending Lambeth. To make them feel "out in the cold", and more vulnerable, with underhanded attacks like the ones we've read about. Remarks by Bishop Chane, Gene Robinson, the antics of Bishop Roskam, and others.

I can only feel that the Lord arranged the meeting, as a balm for hearts and minds sorely tried.

Thank you for sharing this with us.


Perpetua said...

I teared up when I read this, too. Thank you so much for going to Lambeth.
P. S. This motivated me to make another contribution to your expenses.

Jill C. said...

Awesome and wonderful! God is good -- all the time. All the time -- God is good! :)

Pat Kashtock said...

Hey Baby Blue -- I am sitting here with tears running down my face. I don't know if it is from the joy of the Lord bringing the two of you together, or the sorrow of this Bishop in feeling so isolated, yet he is so brave. I wish he could know there are many Americans who have broken free.

take it for what it's worth

kc said...

"I have met an American who is standing for the Gospel"

BB - What greater accolade could a Christian ever receive -- Praise God!!!
If I were you, I'd ask to have that engraved on my tombstone :)

Your stories from Lambeth are such a treasure -- they provide a window like no other reports.
Have a blessed and safe trip home -

cmsigler said...

This is the true love and blessing of the Lord. Two Christians, in true charity, greeting each other, as it were, with "an holy kiss." Verily, BB, you are blessed. Now you know why you were at Lambeth 2008 :^)

I still don't understand why those who seek first the blessings of the flesh can't grok this. Perhaps it's because they've never ever had a truly holy experience (but I suppose it's narrow minded, hateful and something-phobic of me to say this). Let me be bold to say, they need a road-to-Damascus encounter, and they need it now.

Rob Eaton+ said...

I'll add my testimony of tears to your story - not just the story, but having lived out those kinds of moments myself and finding myself right there in the elevator with you two!
Thank you.
If you got a name, I'd like to send the bishop a letter from another American - maybe a whole parish full of Americans - who also stand up for the Gospel. Let's give the man more encouragement than he can handle!

Anglican Beach Party said...

I cried a bit when I read this, too.

Anglican Beach Party said...

Hey, hey Baby Blue, well I wrote you a song ...