I was chatting with a friend yesterday who visited the southern United States while on a recent vacation. One of the things on which she remarked was how she and her husband observed a young man purchasing a meal – a plate of eggs – and when he sat down with it, he bowed his head and prayed.
“That’s not something I see here,” she said, remarking about Canada, her homeland. “I wish we saw more of that here.”
Pausing to ponder this idea, I suggested to her, “If you want to see more of that here, why not begin by praying over your own eggs?”
By that I wasn’t intimating that table graces might spark revival in our country. But maybe it’s a place to start!
Michael Green was an Anglican pastor who had a great heart for evangelism. He was known to say that too often, Christians are like people going through customs in the airport: nothing to declare.
And yet we have much to declare, don’t we?
One of the challenges faced by followers of Jesus in our time is that our friends and neighbours look at us and see very little difference between us and them. In one sense, that’s not bad – we don’t want to be seen as freaks, which would take away any opportunity for witness – but it’s also kind of sad, because followers of Jesus have something that our non-Christian friends and neighbours lack: the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul, a onetime Jewish Pharisee whom Jesus supernaturally brought to himself, was commissioned to bring the good news of salvation to the non-Jewish population of the known world at the time. One of his passions was to remind God’s people that they are ambassadors for Jesus wherever they go, 24/7.
And he likened the saving grace we have received in Christ to a precious treasure, contained in jars of clay, fragile vessels. Sometimes, to reach that treasure, the fragile jars must be broken.
By that I mean that when we pray over our eggs, when we bear witness to God’s love in Jesus, we are taking a risk. It’s said that one never speaks about religion or politics in polite conversation, and the big problem with this is that we have lost the ability to have polite conversations about matters of religion and politics, each of which is an important part of being a citizen of this world.
One way our witness can be strengthened is through having such conversations, with grace and truth, possibly opening doors to encourage others to love and serve Jesus.
And maybe – just maybe – it will all start by praying over your eggs.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4.7, NLT).