And the man that made me cry the most, was the one i saw through the scratched window pane. He was standing by the war memorial, reading the names. He had his hat clutched against his chest, as a sign of respect and honour, and in that moment i felt something of his heart. I realised again what loss the war caused... and what grief old men live with, because of the after-effects. Even as i returned home on the bus, and passed the war memorial again, i cried. There was no-one outside this time, the man had gone, but the way he had held his hat, and his expression lingered in my mind.
What i was left with, was an overwhelming sense of a weary town. And what struck me even more was a fear that all our hype and all our fancy meetings won't reach these kind of people much. They need something real.. they need a depth of love.. they need people to sit with them, to listen to them, to walk with them, to care for them, to be Jesus to them. An old lady sitting all alone in her home won't be changed much by the hyped up atmosphere of a Church meeting.. don't get me wrong, i want to see the Holy Spirit at work in Church meetings, i want to see people joyfully expressing their love for Jesus.. i know that He is the only One who can offer people real hope and meet their needs. He is the only One who can save their souls and bring them peace and comfort enough to endure their loneliness and weariness. I know the difference it makes to experience the Holy Spirit and have Him as the strength you live through - i know we need this. We can't even love people without it coming from the love God gives us - we need to be filled with His spirit even for this.
I just worry sometimes that we might focus too much on experiences and long too much for manifestations of His spirit, and forget about the simple call He gives us to love one another, and the fruits of the Spirit.. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control. I want to be filled with His Spirit more.. but not just so we have a good meeting, but so that i bare fruit and am truly empowered to go out and reach people.. so i'm empowered to love and care for them and be Jesus to them. I don't care about the experience for the sake of experience alone.
"If i have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, i am nothing." - 1 Cor 13
"He has told you, o man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you? to act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" - Micah 6.8