Four years ago my dad bought me a cup.
I remember the day well. It was in December 2009. We were driving to Plettenberg Bay, and stopped at a pottery by the side of the road. I had only been in South Africa 11 months at the time, but had developed a deep love for a community called Manenberg. So passionate was I for people I had met whilst walking the streets that year that I decided I would like to become part of the community and move in during the following year. I moved in, May 2010.
Whilst I can see looking back, I was pretty clueless in many respects (oh hindsight you wise, glorious friend), there was an exciting underlying narrative behind my idea. Here’s an excerpt from my diary:
17 September 2010.
“I’m sitting here in the living room at 2a Cam St, pretty desperately hoping and praying others will be up for getting involved with all that’s going on in Fusion. Missional community is something I want to cultivate more and more, and is (I reckon) a really powerful way of altering prevailing mindsets in an area like Manenberg.
I’m so hopeful for people to come and join with what I’m doing because I’ve found it so so hard this last month – what with the car and the house getting broken into, and then finding out that [a close friend] relapsed whilst I was away (how on earth does this stronghold run so deep?) I’ve come to realize its not about where one lives, but who does life with. That’s to say, it’s not living in a difficult area that makes my life hard, but that I’m living with and parenting and teaching and discipling drug addicts all at the same time – it’s wonderful in so many ways, and what God is asking of me for this season, but it is intensely draining doing it alone. The day to day travelling and shopping and going from place to place alone, always alone often gets me down.
So, the reality I’m praying for is of living amongst prayer warriors and close friends in Manenberg – to do life with, and see miracles with and pray into the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning with, and weep and laugh with, and see many come to faith with, and love Manenberg and Cape Town with.”
That is why I bought a white cup at a pottery months previously – because the moment I saw it something in me (I’d call it my spirit) knew that cup was going to be very useful. I saw it being used for taking communion many times with friends in Manenberg, gathered as a family of families that some might call church.
Fast forward to August 2014 (four years after I wrote my slightly pathetic diary entry)…we are in the early days of putting some structure to what we’re calling ‘Tree of Life’ – a church plant of friends and family in Manenberg. Until a week ago the little white cup had only every sat on shelves and in boxes, alone. But last Sunday, as we were gathered together in our newly renovated house, God reminded me of the vision contained in that cup which we were passing around as we had communion.
Well, “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)
I guess my point is, there really are way fewer coincidences than we might li
ke to think. So may you hold fast to the hope you’re carrying right now, whatever physical circumstances may try and tell you. And may you see the fulfillment of your God-inspired longings.