Sunday: A Big Surprise

I’m writing at what has turned into my usual table (it’s the table with the glass of Diet Coke in the “short reflections” video) and waiting to order lunch. When I went to get on the elevator I met an African bishop and I asked him where he was from. He told me he was from the Sudan.

He was polite, but reserved, quite reserved. He asked me where I was from. I said I was in CANA and I lived in Virginia. He looked at my quizzically. I said, the Convocation of North Americans, set up by the Church of Nigeria. “I am an Anglican in Virginia,” I said.

“You are Nigeria?” he said. I said, yes, CANA is in the Church of Nigeria – I am an American in CANA. We have separated from the Episcopal Church.

Suddenly, he stopped. “You are one that has broken away?” he asked me. I told him yes. His face lit up. “You are standing for the Gospel,” he exclaimed, and he brightened and his eyes grew round above his great smile. And we talked about the Lord. He got very excited and told me how the majority of the Americans he’s met at Lambeth do not understand. You could see it weighed on him. He gave me a blessing. I thought I was going to start crying right there in the lobby. I was the one honored to meet him. I couldn’t even speak. I’ve done nothing, he’s done everything – but he would hear nothing of it.

I am right now more thankful than words to be here, right now, here in this place. I told him I had met Bishop Daniel and appreciated so much the things the Church of Sudan said at Lambeth. His smile was so warm, so filled with Christ, so father-like. “You know Bishop Daniel?” I said, yes, I had met him and appreciated him very much. The last thing he said to me was that he had to tell his wife, “I have met an American who is standing for the Gospel,” he said and he went off to tell his wife.

And I have met a man who lays down his life daily for the Gospel. What an awesome and unexpected gift. Thank you, Father. Thank you.