My wife told me the other day, “I bet you $5 we see someone we know here.” I still owe her $10.
We were down at Dos Equis Pavilion at Fair Park for a concert and not one that I thought would be popular amongst our circles. It wasn’t 5 minutes after she said that we noticed a family we kind of knew at Stonebridge UMC. After Lyndsey posted a picture online, a family from Creekwood reached out to tell us they were there.
I kind of snickered, because the last time we went down to that same venue, almost 5-6 years ago, who did we end up behind in the security line? A woman we knew from TCU and her husband that I knew from a summer camp we worked at. together. My kids always ask, “How do you know SO many people? Everywhere we go, you know someone!” I flat out denied this one time while walking in an airport, and sure enough, we get to the gate and there’s a seminary classmate of mine.
That Moment When…
I really haven’t ever had an answer to my kids’ inquiry. I’ve never been extremely popular, but I have been extraordinarily blessed to be a part of so many meaningful moments with so many meaningful people.
And that’s where every conversation goes to: “Do you remember that moment when…”
Common experiences are at the core of relationships that last. A seemingly small scripture always sparks in my mind around this subject, from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In 1:3, he simply states, “I thank my God every time I remember you…”
Paul had experienced such compassion and love from the Philippians while he was in jail, I doubt if he ever forgot them or doubted the impact they had on his life. I would imagine that if any of them saw Paul at a concert, they could have picked right back up, “Do you remember that moment when…?” Because common experiences bring about common ground.
That Moment: Common (and Holy) Ground
Common ground isn’t always pleasant. I think back to the atmosphere at TCU after September 11 and how I instantly felt closer to the people on my dorm wing when we all cowered in fear, hearing one of the last planes to be in the air fly right over our dorm. For the next two years of school, we recounted that day – even though we had moved on to football games, a night out, or other more positive common experiences. We aren’t great friends now, but when I saw a few of those guys, we were thankful for each other for that time.
Common ground, whatever it is, brings a holy connection. My initial image of “holy ground” is Moses taking off his shoes by the burning bush, but notice how no one else shares that with him and so they are hesitant to leave Egypt. Contrast that experience with the shared Passover meal, when all the sudden everyone is ready to leave. Because they’ve lived it together.
Student Ministry Kick-Off
The most meaningful common and holy ground I’m still blessed to share is from my days in Student Ministry at First United Methodist Church of Allen. The text chain I have with my best friends is often “Do you remember that moment when…” in the midst of college football talk. Around the country, I’ve been able to connect with those who “remember when…”
Because the common, shared, meaningful moments were centered in the love of Christ – that never dies. They were memories made in uncomfortable, joyful, difficult, growing experiences, in which the Spirit was invited knowingly or unknowingly into our relational lives. I believe that is why they’ve lasted, and what we dream for our own students.
I hope you will encourage your own student (child or grandchild) and those you in our community to join the students on Wednesday nights this Fall. It’s a great time of faith, food, fellowship, and fun – and it KICKS OFF TONIGHT!!!
Remember that it’s not just about the moment they have tonight, but about which moments they will carry with them as they become the people we want them to be. I hope one day they’ll run through an airport, only to do a double take of the person they served in mission with or prayed for, and in that moment remember that moment when the Spirit was thick in their lives.
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