This morning, I joined in worship at the Gracewood UMC, Augusta, Ga. I had left my home, intending to drive out to Thomson, to an African-American non-denoninational church, pastored by a good friend of mine. But on the way, the Spirit urged me to take the interstate exit and go on out south of town to Gracewood UMC. Of course, I arrived a little late, and the praise team was already well into the second praise set.

Worshippers were singing; some dancing; three women were gracefully waving lovely sheer banners in front of the congregation. After 15 to 20 minutes more of adoration of our wonderful God and Lord, a powerful, filled-with-God, African-American woman began to exhort and encourage the congregation to share what God is doing and their requests for prayer. Thus began a time of deep, intimate sharing and prayer, such as I have not experienced for quite a while. I was following the conversations, the exhortations, the praise and prayer, when suddenly I realized that a woman near the front, who had just requested prayer for her daughter, was a friend of mine that I have not seen in nearly 15 years. I had lost track of her and her family, but have thought of her and prayed for her so many times over the years. When she glanced back at someone who was speaking behind me, I caught her eye and waved. Her face lighted up in astonishment. A little later, in a lull in the worship, I slipped up toward the front to sit close to her and hug her. What a reunion we had this morning! She whispered to me that she has prayed for me many times over these years, as I have for her, and added that in the past 6-8 months she has repeatedly felt the move of God to pray for me. Unbelievable! well, not really; that’s the way of my great God.

So let me say, I praise God once again for His mercy, for His grace, for His glory; for friends, old and new. For colleagues in ministry. For family, for children, for grand-children. I praise God that through all of the twists and turns of life, He often brings us full circle to once again find a friend of the heart and through that reunion, experience His magnificent and furious love.

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