A Shared Experience

No. 84 - 17th June 2018

When I was a child, my parents used to work in India, and every five years we’d come back to Britain for a year’s break. During the school term, we would live with my granny in Northern Ireland, and then spend our holidays in Preston with my mother’s side of the family. We’d stay with our grandparents, and get the occasional visit from my cousin Allan. He was three years older than me, a lot taller and I think I was rather in awe of him. One thing I do remember is that he once took me to Preston North End to watch Tom Finney playing football. Now that dates me, doesn’t it? Well, my parents went back to India and left me at boarding school in Northern Ireland. So that was the last I saw of Allan. In fact, I’ve never seen him since, until a couple of weeks ago.

My wife and I were in Macclesfield for the week and decided to go and visit my cousin. It was amazing. We had such a great time. We sat down in the front room and immediately started reminiscing about our common grandparents. My cousin turns out to be a bit of a comedian and a wonderful story teller. He would leap out of his seat and start mimicking Grandad, complete with all the ‘Thees and Thous’ in a broad Lancashire accent. You would never have guessed that we hadn’t been in touch for the last sixty years. That shared, family heritage gave us an instant connection.

As a film maker, I have travelled all over the world, often staying with local Christians of different nationalities. And the amazing thing is that we would get that same instant connection. People I’ve never met before, suddenly opening up their hearts because of a common ‘parent’. As children of the same heavenly Father, we recognise in each other a common experience of God. It doesn’t matter who they are, we could immediately identify with each other’s story of a wonderful heavenly Father. Can you imagine that? God almighty drawing people together from all over the world, into one big family. One of the last things Jesus said to his disciples was, ‘people will recognise that you’re my disciples because you love one another other.’ Well, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s not all sweetness and light in the Christian family. There are some massive divisions, and that really offends God. It’s a serious thing when children disobey their father. Especially when that Father is God.

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