Barbeque chicken, spicy bulgur, salad and white Turkish bread – it was the monthly community meal and the garden was filled with the happy noise of children playing and the sound of adults chatting in a variety of languages or English accents!
After the morning worship it was time for fellowship and conversation around a meal. On Monday everybody would be back at work and the normal weekly routine would begin. But Sundays are different and remind us of another reality that includes God’s love and the fact that we are part of a community. Our Sunday experience can provide encouragement for the rest of the week as we live, work and deal with the issues we face.
After the meal a visitor from the Netherlands came and talked to me, expressing his gratitude that he could come to church and enjoy a meal with other believers in a foreign country. He explained that he was on a business trip to Istanbul and that the organisers had planned an exciting program of entertainment and sightseeing over the weekend for their group. ‘But..’ he said: ‘I spend my Sundays differently.’ So he had left the group that morning to come to church. In the afternoon he planned to sleep a bit, do some reading and the next day he would return home to his family.
It would have been easy for this visitor to argue that he should take advantage of an opportunity to go sightseeing in a beautiful city and skip church. But clearly he valued the importance of Sunday worship and fellowship and realised it was a privilege he should treasure.