Today we will meet the Torre Pellice church. Mat and I will be sharing briefly. In true Italian fashion, we arrive about the time church is to start, and go for a cup of coffee. By the time we return about 20 min. later, the church has still not started! Love it.
One of the leaders opens with Eph. 1:17-22, my signature passage to talk about the “eyes of the heart” being opened. Mat turns to me excitedly—“That ties in exactly with what I want to say!” “Me too!” I respond. Nerves die down a little as we anticipate what God has in store for us and the church.
I share what my experience in this valley has meant, what God has impressed upon me. I spot David in the back row, attentive; Matthew a few rows forward, craning his neck to hear, the Italians nodding their heads, calling out the occasional English word as my conscripted translator, assigned at the last minute, struggles. I must be patient, as I have no idea how accurate she is being; another opportunity to trust God to communicate through her what he wants.
I am determined to express some measure of the passion and vision I sense God has not only for this area, for his martyrs, but for the present, in this valley. I close with a prayer from Henri Nouwen, and a verse from Isaiah:
“…God is the God of Life, in whom no death can be found…touch our death-oriented world and call forth new life. Bring life, joy and a new vitality to those who are walking in the shadow of death…Do not let your people be conquered by the dark forces of death, but let your life-giving power enter their bodies, hearts and minds and let them recognize you as the son of the Living God.”
“The mighty man will become tinder and his work a spark; both will burn together, with no one to quench the fire.”—Isaiah1:31
Mat’s up next, and shares his heart. The congregation is so receptive. Communion follows, while Jill nails us again with a fantastic rendition of Silent Night in two languages. The sermon follows. Fun to hear a blast of Italian, interrupted by the occasional question to us in French—“Vous comprenez? Do you understand?” I missed a lot, but got the gist, and am thrilled that in this valley, so many speak French. I get to share with a number of people, in French or English, after the service.
And then we’re off to lunch at Jill and Anna’s, but first, a detour…