‘When Strangers Meet: How People You Don’t Know Can Transform You’ is the title of a new book by Kio Stark. The review I read recently is enticing. Contrary to ‘stranger danger’ upon which a couple of generations have now been raised, the claim is made that speaking to unknown others can be a gift. All you know of the other is their humanity, and connecting at that foundational level can make you feel more human. Strangers can be mediums of the unexpected and new that encourage growth. Strangers can understand us even better than those closest to us, without accumulated layers of experience and expectation. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/why-talking-to-strangers-is-very-very-good-foryou/article31987336/
I thought of this as I read the story of Philip running up to the Ethiopian in the passing chariot (Acts 8: 26-40). Speaking to the stranger here is of divine will – God sends Philip to the side of the Ethiopian. The stranger (to us) invites another stranger (to him) into conversation, and hears something new and transformative. He becomes the first African Christian. The one stranger ‘went on his way rejoicing’ and other stranger (Philip) is sent by the Spirit strengthened by the experience to speak to other strangers.
What a great affirmation of our humanity, that we can connect with unknown others immediately and deeply. What a great promise for us in our seeking, whether seeking to share or seeking to receive, that the Spirit may work best among us in realms of the ‘new’ rather than the ‘known’.
If you are in the area Sunday morning, please join us in the worship of God. There is a nursery for infants and a programme for children available during the service. If driving, there is ample parking on the surrounding streets or in the public surface lot off Queen Street behind the church. Have a look at the Order of Service, and the announcements that follow, and join us in Christian worship, fellowship and service.