“Anxious Return” – by Bryan Johnston

After my first year of studies at York College, in York, NE I returned home to Culbertson, MT to work. It was nice to be home with family and friends and not have to worry about school work and the stresses of all of those requirements and responsibilities, but after just a few weeks into the summer break my heart longed to return. I would stay busy with working three jobs, counseling at bible camp, and spending time with loved ones. There were blessings in that time spent in my hometown, but I began to miss the fellowship and community of faith that I had been a part of at York.

I missed the community of friends and faculty that shared a common faith and love for the Lord. I missed the opportunity to serve in the ministries of the campus to share a common love for others. I missed the time with mentors who sharpened me and trained me in my gifts in the Lord. I missed the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit that rested on that place. I missed the times of friendship and fellowship. I missed the intimacy of brotherhood that was formed with fellow followers of Christ.

When the summer was over, I was anxious to return to my new community of faith at York College. I had an adrenaline filled 850-mile, 14-hour drive from Montana to Nebraska. I was a nutcase of joy and exhilaration driving at times at accelerated speeds to make it back to my place of spiritual formation. At the intersection of I-80 and highway 81 is a multicolored water tower that looks like a huge hot air balloon. Because of the extremely flat terrain of Nebraska, this iconic marker can be seen thirty or forty miles away. Once I spotted that tower on my drive back to York my heart would overflow with excitement and joy.

I pray that we will have that same joy and excitement about the anticipation of returning each Lord’s Day to gather around his table with fellow followers of Christ. I pray that this will be time each week that we can express our love for God and one for another. I pray that our time each Sunday will be a time of encouragement and discipleship as we guide each other in our walk with the Lord. I pray that we will have opportunity to share our gifts of the spirit and use our resources to meet each others needs. I pray that at the close of each gathering we will have a sense of urgency to share our hope and fellowship with the Lord with others. I pray that we will be anxious and excited to meet again with our church body, our family, our
brothers and sisters in Christ.

(Bryan is a gospel minister at the North Bend, Oregon Church of Christ, in North Bend, Oregon USA)

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