Any time one of our missionaries leaves NYC, the week they return is something of a sprint to catch up with relationships. Naturally, then, when my wife and I returned from Christmas I was trying to reestablish contact with all of my ministry friends and to reinitiate the bible studies and house-church meetings which may have lapsed in my absence. It was in doing this catch-up that I heard about the death of L.’s grandfather and his emergency flight to Turkey to be at the funeral. L. and I have been studying the bible together for over a year and recently begun studying different traditions of Christian prayer. And L. called me when he returned from Turkey to invite my wife and I to a feast to celebrate the life of his grandfather. We were honored, and of course agreed, and so it was that we found ourselves in a fancy Turkish kitchen out in Brooklyn, at the mercy of a menu we could not read, surrounded by servers we could not communicate with, to honor the life of a man we did not know. This is not an unfamiliar situation in the life of a missionary in a global city. And I was struck, in this moment, by the power of table fellowship. It is no wonder that table is at the center of the gospel. Before the meal, the servers brought out an enormous bread, which we all broke together, and in doing so we were united across cultures and language and history, family, or race. In sharing a meal together, we were proclaiming our love for one another and our unity as being in the same family of God. It is a family which is new, and in some ways even a still emerging identity for L. It is one my wife and I were adopted into a longer time ago. Even still, it is moments like these where we get a small glimpse into the in-breaking Kingdom of God. I encourage you, this week, to break bread with someone who, if not for Jesus, wouldn’t otherwise be at your table. Find out if God shows you what he’s revealing to us in our global city mission.
By S.B. in NYC