You know that sensation of meeting someone for the first time but still feeling like you know them from somewhere? After a bit you work up the courage to start asking questions. “Where did you go to school? Have you ever lived in …? Are you related to …? Where were you during the summer of …?” looking for that common thread because for some unknown reason you just feel connected!
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I get that feeling all the time when visiting churches and worshiping with people I don’t know. But fortunately I don’t have to go through all the questions. When I worship with someone it becomes pretty obvious what it is that we have in common. After all, how could I possibly confess the Apostles’ Creed with someone and not feel connected?
Feeling connected with the Newsong team was something that happened very quickly after they arrived in Japan. And now that we are spending time together in Tohoku I’m frequently feeling connected to the people up here, and perhaps the team members are as well. Today was Sunday so there wasn’t any relief work on the coast. Instead all of the 3.11 network volunteers congregated in Morioka and worshiped at local churches. Our team went to the Morioka Minami Church. It’s a typically small church of about fifteen people. Needless to say, showing up with our group of twelve was probably a bit overwhelming for them. Fortunately they had enough seats in the sanctuary, but the immediate problem was communion cups. The answer turned out to be intinction (dipping the bread into the cup) which worked out just fine. Once again, how can you share the Lord’s Supper with someone and not feel connected?
After worship we had lunch at the church and very quickly it became obvious that the connectedness was more than just “a feeling”. Even after the meal we spent a long time interacting with the church members. I guess there are plenty of biblical examples of interpersonal connections that come to life at the meal table. Today was no exception. Before long it was time to go home, and we already felt like we were saying goodbye to close friends.
After that all we did was make a quick stop at the laundromat and go out for dinner. If you are ever in Morioka and are in the mood for a crazy big portion of fried chicken, we’ve got just the place for you!! It was a relaxing day that everyone needed! Tomorrow we will do a little bit of preparation for the rest of the week, buy some supplies for Tuesday’s BBQ, maybe even see some of the sites in Morioka, and then have a 3.11 volunteer meeting in the evening. We look forward to feeling connected to even more people as the week proceeds.