Last night I sat waiting in a coffee shop to be joined by a pair of ladies who were coming from a women's Bible study. I was reading my unrelated study guide when the waiter, who had already been told I was waiting for friends, asked about my booklet. He was politely curious about whether or not we were meeting at the restaurant for our Bible study. Explaining that we went to different churches, the conversation took an interesting turn as Maurice expressed his faith in God and in Christ but expressed that church was not really for him and said without saying that he'd been burned at some point along the way.
Excited, I flipped to the pages in the guide featuring the following Scripture that felt right for Maurice:
"36 Then one of the Pharisees invited Him to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37 And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house. She brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil 38 and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him—she's a sinner!"
40 Jesus replied to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you."
"Teacher," he said, "say it."
41 "A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. 42 Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?"
43 Simon answered, "I suppose the one he forgave more."
"You have judged correctly," He told him. 44 Turning to the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she, with her tears, has washed My feet and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but she hasn't stopped kissing My feet since I came in. 46 You didn't anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that's why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little." 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." " Luke 7:36-48 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
As he finished that final line, Maurice smiled and gave an enthusiastic, "Yeah! I know that's right!". I commented that I also identify with the woman of poor reputation and debtor who owed a greater amount than many other better people, and I am thankful to be welcomed into church so God can keep changing me. Maurice was noncommittal regarding visiting our church building, but he was interested in hearing about the internet campus. He said that sounded more appealing to him.
After he walked away promising to take extra good care of our table (which he did), I tried to hop online via my phone to put in a prayer request for Maurice but could not access the Online Campus prayer page. So I shot a text message relating the details and asking Walker, who is shepherding the online church, if she could post the request for the online congregation to be praying for Maurice. Imagine my surprise when Walker messaged back that she and another friend were actually headed to the same coffee shop at that very moment!
Both pairs of ladies arrived at the same time. I got up from the table and went over to greet them as Maurice was seating Walker and her companion. I laughed as I told him that I had sent a prayer request for him to Walker not knowing that she was headed to the restaurant. I also told him that God must really have something in store for him to be putting so many people in place to let him know that there was somewhere for him to be joining in Worship. He looked pretty pleased with that take on the situation, and I hope that he will soon find whatever place God is preparing for him.