When Paths Cross
Updated: Jun 8, 2018
Story is the language of the heart, it is the language of humanity. We love to hear of the stories of loved ones, from the adventurous tales of escapades overseas to the simple question "How was your day?", of which the answer always comes in the form of a story. We live in a narrative that takes different forms, sometimes we feel like the story is taking us on a journey and other times we feel like we're penning the next chapter and we confidently take ownership of the direction and the path that the story takes.
I believe that these inclinations are apparent within us as just one way that we exhibit the nature of God in us. God wants us to know just what he's like, what his nature is like. He wants us to know where we came from and that we're part of something much bigger than just ourselves, a story of long ago. God tells us these things not as practical information, as lists or mere historical text. This comes to us in the form of a story, one that God has been writing for some time. And not only does he write it, he's the main player. The Bible invites us into a greater epic narrative and speaks to the longings that we harbour for adventure, beauty, belonging and love.
My wife Emma and I were feeling the frustrations that people feel right before they burst forth and break free. We were living in a place of incredible natural beauty, with deep friendships and a young family. Yet there was an itch that seemed almost impossible to locate let alone alleviate with a scratch. The compass bearing appeared to be leading us north, from the southern land of the UK in Cornwall up across the border to Scotland.
At the same time, some dear friends from Edinburgh we discerning the still small voice of the Spirit towards stepping out of the boat themselves. Brian and Vicky had been travelling the 28 miles from their home in Edinburgh to the coast of Dunbar in order to immerse themselves in the beauty of the coastline, the surf and great community of the area, but also to see whether God was opening up a new path for them to walk that included Dunbar.
Our paths crossed at the Christian Surfers National Gathering in Cornwall where we shared stories and encouraged each other amidst attending to the needs of our small children and enjoying the family get-together that is always a hallmark of these gatherings.
At the same time another chap called Jamie was changing teaching jobs to take up a position in the local high school in Dunbar. Jamie loves the mountains, adventure sports and has a great heart for seeing those in his community come to know the fullness of Jesus.
Elsewhere, the parents of some other dear friends of ours were going through some family trials that eventually lead them to consider whether a move to eastern Scotland was something that God was leading them to, perhaps even Dunbar.
You see, behind all these stories is the creative, loving and ever-present hand of our Father, who also happens to be the author. Like the storytellers we love who masterfully grab our attentions with their sublimely crafted blend of narrative, wit and emotion, God weaved together the lives of some folks he'd love to walk together for a while in this beautiful little corner of planet Earth, some folks who bring something unique to the offering, who would love each other's souls, creativity, banter, their coffee and their homemade carrot cake.
Their paths crossed by divine order and something remarkable began to take form, to grow and flourish. The family of God is more deeply established when his beloved truly learn his ways, learn to trust his voice, learn to lean on him, learn to lean on each other, learn that to leave the shores of certainty and comfort, to move out into the mystery of open water brings the fullness of life that Jesus said he came to bring us.
The community that has developed at the intersection of these once separate stories is what we now call Discovery Church Dunbar. Others have begun to journey with us in the mean time, finding community and a sense of family among us. Long may we walk with Jesus, learning to watch him, listen to him and be with him; may we discover more of the unforced rhythms of grace, as we live freely and lightly.