Keeping In Touch
(By David West)
One important factor during the past year has been the value of having good friends. During that time, at 2.30 on a Tuesday and 2.30 on a Friday have become precious times to me. Those are the time that the two groups of men I volunteer with on the West Somerset Railway meet for the shift Zoom meeting. Two completely different meetings. Tuesday is always a lively affair as we talk about television programmes we have watched, our shared interest in football and, of course, railways. The meeting is always punctuated with raucous laughter as somewhere along the line someone tells a funny anecdote. There have been times, however, when one or other of us has a need and we have been able to talk that through together.
The make-up of this group is interesting: 3 of us are Christians (2 retired Baptist ministers) and the fourth member of the group calls himself a practising atheist. Sometimes when we are talking of Christian things, he has something to add which is interesting, challenging and full of insight.
The Friday group is a more serious group. We talk a lot about railways on Fridays. We also talk about food, whatever we have been watching on television but most of all about railways. The group is made up of 2 retired Baptist ministers, a Christian and someone who makes no profession of faith. However, this person joined in when the other minister in the group lost his wife during the year and the leader of the group asked me to pray for him.
I have so much valued these two 40-minute meetings each week during the dreary months of lockdown and found them to be uplifting and edifying. As I think of these meetings, I am reminded that we have a friend in Jesus who is constantly online and with whom we can share all our joys, worries and blessings. The amazing thing is that in John 15:8-17 he says we are His friends, which means that as we are friends of Jesus all the fulness of God is available to us through that friendship, and, unlike the Zoom meetings, we don’t have to wait for a special time to speak with him.