On Tuesday from 10-11:00 a.m. the Old Fool joined a group of senior men known as “Samhedrin” A visitor next to me said he was from Florida. I whispered “where.” He whispered, “Sarasota.” What church? I asked. He replied, “I’m Catholic!” On impulse I responded, “We’ve had problems ever since you kicked us out!”
Another guest was Simon Barrow, a leader in an Anabaptist movement in Brittan. Their statement of core values is worthy of study. Barrow is also a leader in the Ekklesia think tank that speaks prophetically on public policy.
When asked about his connection with the Church of England, Barrow described it as a bond that’s “indissoluble.” With the help of a thesaurus I understand him to say that the bond among Christians is permanent, unbreakable, everlasting, and eternal. If Barrow is right, attempts by Christians to split are not only painful and obstructive, they are in the long run, futile, even if sincere. This has the ring of good news, though it’s a mystery I don’t understand.
Two stories supply some evidence that the mystery is real. While we lived in Tampa a neighbor Puerto Rican child ran in and out of our home and attended SS and SBS. When still a kid she married a Cuban. She went with him to his home in Cuba. Castro promptly put her husband in jail and she was a lonely alien in a communist land.
Rhoda and I visited her when she came to the US. She said, “I remembered what you taught me so I prayed, and “God’s people” found me and helped me.” God’s people happened to be Jehovah’s Witnesses. Could there be a mysterious indissoluble bond between fundamentalists who use the Bible to teach hell and damnation, and Jehovah’s Witnesses who use the Bible to dispute the existence of an eternal hell?
Rhoda and I were approached by a woman in a crowded department store. I used to be a Mennonite and wore a covering, she said. Then I moved and became Mormon. But, she said, “I am a born again Mormon” and she disappeared in the crowd.
When two Mormon missionaries knocked on the door, I said, “come in, I have questions to ask you.” When seated in our living room I told them about the woman who was a “born again. Mormon.” They could not offer an explanation, and then had a question for me: Would you like to be a part of a group whose bishop’s can tell you what the truth is? “No,” I said, “I have had experience with that kind of a group.” I told them of God’s grace to me.
“Will you pray for us,” they asked. “No,” I said. “Not unless you pray for me first.” They prayed for me and I prayed for them. We parted as friends, and brothers I think. Is it possible that two Mormon missionaries and I experienced a mysterious indissoluble bond as members of the Body of Christ?