Every now and then I will read something that sort of just 'grabs my heart'... and that's what happens here. They are describing an imaginary meeting between Peter and Paul. Old friends road-weary and worn from ministry and disappointment. They meet in a restaurant and on p. 193 is this:
And so it goes. Two tired men sharing back and forth, recounting stories of new cells in Asia Minor, new converts in Europe, new developments in Greece.
Finally Paul says, "Peter, I'm not sure when I'll see you again..."
"You say that every time we get together."
"I know, and it's always true. But in case our paths never cross again, can you tell me about him one more time."
Peter smiles sadly, "Oh, Paul, you've heard me tell you those stories a million times. You tell them yourself better than I do."
Paul leans forward toward his friend, "Comrade, I've been beaten, abandoned, betrayed, shipwrecked, and left for dead. It's hard to think of a cell I've planted that isn't in the grip of some crisis, personal or doctrinal. I'm not well. I'm often hungry. And, well, according to some of my friends, I look like an old man. The revolution is unfolding, slowly but surely. Ah, the things we've seen. But at times it feels arduous. I long for the Lord as the watchman longs for the end of night. And there are times when I wonder whether these small, struggling cells we're planting will become the movement we dreamed of. Yes, I do wonder. Even after all I've seen and done. All we've seen and done..."
Then he fixes his eyes firmly on Peter's and says, pleading, "Tell me again."
Wow... I can't even type it without getting misty-eyed. Certainly I am less than nothing compared to Paul (or anyone for that matter), but even as a simple pastor with a fairly easy life I so resonate with his desire to have someone tell me again about Jesus. Over and over and over. I know it's rather selfish, but I have always thought this was how denominational leaders could best serve their pastors (and therefore their churches). I know I don't understand things at all, but I wish I could tell my RD to forget the chapstick and ink-pen trinkets. Every now and then just tell me again about Jesus, and remind me of why we do what we do.
"I long for the Lord as the watchman longs for the end of night." (from Ps. 130:6)