The big touring motorcycle pulled up outside the country church that had a long history, going back generations of faithful preachers and worshippers. A solid-built man stepped off the bike and removed the full-face helmet with darkened visor and long neck curtain that concealed his identity, then the heavy gloves he wore. His bike was loaded with packs and camping gear and the vest over his leather jacket was a little grubby.
As he entered the church, the only one to approach him was an older woman who offered her hand and gave her name as she welcomed him. She had been a long-term local preacher in the area and inquired about the biker’s background. Yes, he too was a local preacher – and elder – in his own church for many years and on his way home from a motorcycle rally in a nearby gorge.
Why did no one else approach him? He didn’t “fit” the model of those in the rest of the congregation and were somewhat awkward of the ‘stranger’ among them, perhaps because of what he might do. Only in making the approach would they find he too was “one of them.”
That’s the nature of our kin: our kind. They often don’t look like us or even do what we do but their hearts and lives are driven by the same Lord. Some worship in fine cathedrals and others in grass huts or school halls. Some wear highly decorated robes while executing complex rituals while others dress in simple street clothes, sitting around old lounge suites as I once did in suburban Melbourne, adjacent to a 1950s housing complex where many of the congregation came from a background with mental health and/or drug issues. They too had discovered the source of healing and rejoiced in it.