Today is the celebration of Easter in the Orthodox church, and I love how the Jesus followers of different traditions get to extend our celebration of Jesus' resurrection when we fellowship together. As the taxi driver took me to the airport in Belgrade at the end of my tradition's holy week, he commented that he would be celebrating Easter a week later but that we had the same Jesus. Helen and I reflected on the conversations 1400 years ago that related to this split celebration and we wondered what those church leaders would think of their choices if they saw the church now.
Sometimes I'm sad about the divisions that separate denominations, but other times I get to see how beautiful the diversity within the common confession of faith can be. Though we missed each other, right when I was flying out of London on Thursday, a former student was landing on her way back to school after celebrating Passover in Jerusalem with her family. This Jesus follower with Jewish roots told me that as she stood at the Western Wall and asked God what to pray about, my name came to mind. It's super special to me how many of my former students keep up with me and let me know how they are praying for me and finding Jesus in their own lives.
This past week I got to have some wonderful conversations with Caylie and Lissy about how they have grown closer to Jesus since graduating BFA. Both of these young women are very special to me, and I really love still having them in my life. The fact that Caylie would graciously open her home for four days (and make delicious breakfast each day) and that Lissy would take her vacation days to travel with me is particularly humbling, but it also shows me that they value having me in their lives post high school. No one requires you to hang out with and help your disabled Bible teacher once you finish taking their class; these beautiful and diverse TCKs choose to keep me in their lives and enrich my life. The previous trip to Belgrade I spent time with peers who were gracious to help me with my limitations, but there is something extra special about knowing my former students want to stay in my life and keep making memories with me and talking about theodicy and spiritual formation and discipleship (and also good literature and Australian children's television).
I promise whatever London tourist things you would want to do, I did not do them. My body couldn't manage much on this trip, but I did everything I wanted, and that included an afternoon on Caylie's couch being introduced to Bluey while we ate cheese and crackers. I also got two shows in which was an absolute treat. While I wouldn't call the trips this break restful, it was so good for my soul to adventure outside of Kandern and have quality time with Jesus followers from different cultural backgrounds.