Friday, August 13, 2004

I sat by a....

I live and work about half the year in Gorlovka, Ukraine. One of the groups I am part of is a group of elderly ladies (babushka's) who meet on Wednesday mornings for Bible study and fellowship. In late July we had a visiting babushka at our class, and she sat by me. About seven years ago she lived in my building, but then she was forced to move away, so she sold her apartment. Then in July she showed up again in our neighborhood. Turns out she had been in prison for seven years for killing a man who lived with her. She came back to her old home to visit some neighbors, and to clarify a story she heard. She had been told that there was now a church meeting in her old neighborhood, and that many of her old neighbors were part of it. After finding out that this was true, she asked about attending the babushka class. We told her she was welcome, of course.
Our lesson was "David and Goliath." I was a little nervous about teaching a story where God approved of one man killing another! But she did not dismiss her sin by claiming that she simply killed a giant in her way. She is attending class still because she told of coming to faith in Jesus Christ while she was in prison. She wanted to keep her faith growing by being part of a church family that would encourage her.
Would you have been nervous to sit by a murderer in a Bible class? Maybe that is a little too close for comfort. But if you think about it, some of your favorite Bible characters were murderers. Moses was. David, too. Most of the judges were, as well as a lot of the kings. Paul says, that the church in Corinth was full of people who were murderers - along with other sins. BUT they were changed, they were washed, they were made righteous through their faith in Jesus Christ.
Again, we do not get to choose the other disciples that Jesus calls. But we can celebrate for them and with them!

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