We have gone three times over the last 6 weeks to the Friday evening soaking prayer sessions in Oxford, sponsored by the Toronto Airport Fellowship Catch the Fire Ministries.
What an unusual group of people gather! Each time, I see them, I think of Paul’s comment in 1 Corinthians 1, “For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; 27 but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
It is on Friday, remember. We are usually the only married couple who show up. Most people are single. Only one of them is beautiful, in the eyes of the world. Many are decidedly ordinary looking and not attractively kitted out. Beauty is a double-edged sword, I often think. The beautiful and attractive have a power that they are often unaware of. Things go more easily for them. They get what they want more. They may well have had dates or parties on Friday night.
A date with someone you truly love might satisfy one’s soul, but on the whole, two hours with God, soaking in his presence, listening to heavenly music, receiving his wisdom, direction, comfort and love does so much for your soul. Your life may take on different directions; you might become a different person.
In Christ’s parable of the banquet, the original invitees were too busy to come. And so, his servants scour the highways and byways for the poor, the blind, the lame to enjoy free food and a generous host.
I often think nowadays of the deeper fairness of God, of what Hopkins meant when he wrote, “Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend with thee.” For those who have no dates or parties on Friday nights, a Lover waits, and he waits with more wisdom, comfort, love and guidance that one could possibly receive in any other way.