It was my privilege to attend the morning meeting of the Vineyard group at Radstock Methodist church of yore. This morning there was no service as such. Instead the event was centred around children. There were games, constructions and a bouncy castle. Us adults milled round chatting to each other.
I was fortunate enough to meet a lady called Alisha. She had been born in UK but worked in Milan, Australia and America where she is currently with a non profit organisation which assists with the poorest of the poor. She is back here in the UK renewing her visa. Normally work visas are issued every two years. I lived in NY NY for some time in the late 90’s so I reminisced.
Alisha said that the homeless problem was severe. Under the new Mayor Eric Adams, police have the power to take any homeless person off the street if they consider them to be mentally challenged. That could mean just about anyone. She also said that prices had gone through the roof. A cocktail was $16 or $15 on a good day. So, a drink and a couple of snacks could set you back $30. Also people were of enormous size physically. She attributed this to ignorance. She eats no meat so in certain areas there is nothing offered. There are few if any fresh vegetables.
Alisha lived for a time in Melbourne which is now a cool and sophisticated city challenging Sydney as the cultural capital of Oz.
However what impressed me most was her practical application of faith. God has definitely opened up ways for her and ‘made her paths straight’ as it says. Her apartment on lower East side ‘had her name on it’
I shared some impressions of her which some would construe as a compliment. I found talking to her a transparent and ‘clean’ process. I find this with people who have worked through their personal stuff. She says that when she is on her own the reads the Bible a lot. I also found that she came across as someone who ‘walks their talk’. There was a joy and a glow about her that indicated that God was present. No question – if you trust God a lot, God will guide and help you. If you do not trust, then God cannot whisper in your ear so although you might get guidance it would not necessarily be from the right source.
I also commented about what I had observed about single people. Sometimes it is not our destiny to be with someone. I suppose you could say being married to the community is a good alternative. I have advised single people ‘ get married to yourself, the rest will follow’. I added that I had met married couples who might as well be in prison.
I left the meeting enriched and encouraged. I need such meetings like a piece of coal in a fire needs another piece of coal. It keeps the fire burning and two or more together is more effective than one on its own. I know that that is the way we are made. ‘ No man is an island’ as John Dunne said or ‘We are members one of another’. St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans 12:5