img_4348Unexpected encounters with friends are always a delight. Saturday provided two such pleasures. Penny & I popped along to the New Hope open day – a charity for which I volunteer. I’m impressed with their work and recommend them to anyone in the Watford area looking for an opportunity to make a difference.

After a welcome flapjack & cup of tea (thanks, Annette – your home-made fairy cakes looked delightful!), we heard children singing and wended our way towards the sound. There was Jess coordinating the choir from Watford Central Primary school. She’s a friend of a friend (via Becky Makinson), and was doing a sterling job marshalling the vocal talents of the youngsters who’d been good enough to take time out of their spare Saturday time this weekend. Click here for a short clip of their singing.

A little later a harp seeped into our soundscape. Not something you hear every day. Moving into the workshop revealed a harp/flute duet. Lo and behold, if it wasn’t Lynn, the mother of a church friend, Leon. She and the flautist were providing beautiful music for all who would stop and listen.

While we already know Jess and Lynn, we’re not best friends. But seeing them serving people with whom I have a connection gave me a stronger bond with them. I was reminded that friendship is not built on just talking or spending time together (as helpful as that can be), but also on serving together. Jesus understood this – he did not serve alone, but, after setting the example, involved his followers to join him in service. He was the servant par excellence – “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,” (Matthew 20:28 NIV11), and gave his disciples opportunities to serve, “he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.” (Matthew 15:36 NIV11). He still does today.

All of us have opportunities to serve, but I wonder if, should we find ways to serve together with other believers, we might find our church communities stronger and more bonded in love. The strength of our fellowship does not depend on believing the same things, or sitting in the same building. It depends far more on what we do together that would please God and serve the world around us.