A good day on a wrong train

6/2/2009

“All things work together for good for those who love the Lord. . .” — Romans 8:28

I got on the wrong train in Stamford. So did Frederick Carew.

We were both leaving from the meeting of the Board of Global Ministries in Stamford, Conn., intending to travel on Amtrak to Washington, D.C., where Frederick was to visit his sister, and I was to attend the meeting of the Council of Bishops.

His ticket was checked first. The attendant shook her head, and I had a sense of dread: we were both in for great inconvenience. I heard her say this train was headed for New York, not Washington.

Together we listened as she gave us directions. Get off at Grand Central. Take a taxi to Penn Station. Go to the Amtrak desk. Get a revised ticket. Catch the Amtrak from Penn Station to Washington.

Frederick and I shared this journey together. I learned about Liberia, his legal training at the Inns of the Court in London, his service as lead jurist in Liberia and his commitment to Christ through the United Methodist Church. I was humbled to be traveling with greatness. All along the way we met people who were blessings to us. It was a good journey.

We arrived at our destinations only one hour behind our original itinerary. As he got off the train, Frederick turned to me and said, “If I had to be on a wrong train in this country, I am glad God provided you.” I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving for the mistake of the morning, getting on the wrong train.

It is not good for us to be alone. We learn this very early in the Biblical witness.

Very soon, we gather for Annual Conference. It is a time to be together, to be enriched, to be helpful to one another, to live well in community. I give thanks that the challenges and joys of these days are enriched in community. As John Wesley said, “There is no such thing as a solitary Christian.” 

Thanks be to God for the life we share together.