I'm going to take a brief hiatus from the Abraham and Isaac series this week to add this quick insertion and another, an end-of-the-quarter recap, possibly tomorrow.
So, this past weekend, I had the marvelous opportunity to go to Cincinnati, Ohio for the first Lord's table meeting there. First of all, I just have to say that it was a wonderful experience.
The trip began Friday night - a short trek on the Chicago el to attend Conrad and Karen's home meeting in the UIC area. I need to re-visit this home meeting again, so wonderful and enjoyable! After the meeting, I got to spend the night at Dion and Emily's so we can drive down to Cincinnati as soon as possible. The next morning began early and we bustled around packing and eating breakfast. I think we left the house around 7:30 AM-ish. All four of us (Mora, their greyhound tagged along) got in the beige Honda CR-V to begin our 6-hour trip to Ohio.
I won't get into too much detail, as the meat lies in Cincinnati, but we stopped by Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, with much fellowship on the ride there. I had heard Dion's testimony many times beforehand, but I never had the chance to hear Emily's story. This is the real gem in road trips - hearing the stories of different saints. Anyhow, one particular thing that really touched me and resounded within me in this car ride was the story how Emily ended up in Chicago, which she had no affiliation with whatsoever. Somewhere in that story (you'll have to ask her for the details, as this is just a tangent) there came upon an intersection where she had to make a choice. And this is relate-able in our daily lives. We come upon decisions all the time. Rather than praying to the Lord, "Lord, which way should I go?", we should pray "Lord, I want Your heart! If I have Your heart, I have everything. Doesn't matter which way I go, as long as I have Your heart's desire." That wasn't exactly the way she said it, but somewhere along that line...
So, we arrived at Cincinnati some time around 8 PM, Eastern time. Our first destination was the Garcia's, a couple from Texas that had migrated to Cincinnati. They had a wonderful apartment, where the Grosse's were going to spend the night. I, on the other hand, was dropped of at the brother's house in Cincinnati, where EJ and Travis (both who are students/going to be the students) lived. They were renting out a really nice house with plenty of space for a price that is unheard of in Evanston! Anyhow, another brother from Texas, Alex, was also staying overnight with us.
I wouldn't say that anything special or spectacular happened, but I would definitely have to say that I felt right at home. There is something about being with brothers, that just feels so home-y. I've met EJ through a few conferences and trainings, but probably never got to converse with my brother for over 10 minutes, but it just felt like we've known each other since we were little. Same thing with Alex and Travis. Those brothers were so dear, and I wish I didn't have an exam at 9 AM on Monday, cause, otherwise, I would have stayed in Cincinnati longer to hang out with these brothers.
Okay, let me fast forward to the meat. We spend the night at the brother's house on Saturday and Lord's Day morning, we get up to some awesome breakfast burritos that Alex made. The table was being held at the Marriott hotel because there were going to be a LOT of saints coming over. And indeed, there was. I think there were around a 180 saints in total in that meeting room.
Again, nothing spectacular, I just felt right at home in Cincinnati breaking bread and praising the Lord just like in LA or Chicago. Brother Tym Seay from Austin also came to visit and shared a bit regarding "Oneness." And if you don't mind, I would like to share a little bit:
God is one. Oneness is His nature (Deut. 6:4). Furthermore, God has a plan, which is to make Himself one with man (1 Cor. 6:17). For this reason, He placed man in front of the tree of life, suggesting man to eat Him so that He could get inside of man to be one with man. We also see through the gospels, that the Lord Jesus Himself desired for His disciples to be one with one another. So, here we see a lot of onenesses going on.. One oneness. God is one with man, and we are one with each other through this same oneness that we are one with God.
So, we see that God is one, and desires to be one with men so that men would become His corporate expression. To express God whose nature is oneness, His corporate expression must also hold to this oneness. His corporate expression is the church, and the church stands upon a ground, which is the genuine ground of oneness. The church can only be built on the ground of oneness. Built upon other ground, it is impossible for the church to stand (or stand properly).
A little insertion here to describe this -- A brother once told me how important the site (ground) is in relation to building a structure upon it. It is so important in fact, that an architect has the right to terminate a contract if the site is changed.
The genuine ground comprises of three things: the unique oneness of the universal Body of Christ, the local ground of the locality, and the reality of the Spirit of oneness. Our God is one, and just like any normal human head also has one Body, God has one Body. This is the universal Body of Christ, which expresses God's nature of oneness by itself being one. This universal Body of Christ, comprises of all the believes in the world. Practically, for distance and time reasons, the believers meet as the Body of Christ in their respective localities as the believers did in the New Testament. And this does not mean that each localities are separate now because they meet in different cities. No, it's one, just practically manifested in various localities. Look at the moon. There is one moon. The moon in Cincinnati is the same moon in Chicago, but in both localities there is a local manifestation of that moon. Thirdly, we need to have the reality of the Spirit of oneness. We are all under the universal Body of Christ. And we can meet in the local ground of oneness, but without the Spirit of oneness, we are all dead. The Spirit of oneness is like the pulse, the life-flow of the Body. Without it, we'll just be a corpse. Praise the Lord for another city where the universal Body of Christ is locally manifested with the Spirit of oneness flowing!
Anyhow, just a brief recap above. I have to confess I need to get into this matter more. I lack the utterance that brother Tym had. Lord, I want to see this matter more!
After the table, we had lunch back at the brother's house with some of the saints in Louisville. Then started the 6-hour trek back to Chicago, where I got to pleasantly sleep/study next to Mora :)