Ashlyn and I woke up at 6 am and gave Roger and Mary Beth McCown a lift to the airport. They arrived to Dublin on Saturday, but had been in other parts of Ireland traveling around since October 2. Although their time with us flew, it was good to have them here for a few days. Last Friday, the day before the McCowns arrived, Ashlyn and I gave my cousin Brent a lift back to the airport. He had flown into Ireland four days prior to that. It was a short trip, but it was good to see him. A couple of days before Brent landed in Dublin, Ashlyn and I were at the airport (with Juli), but this time it was the Smith family who were being picked up. We were arriving back from Italy from a one week holiday. Thank God for airports and airplanes - they dramatically shorten time and space and make it possible to fellowship with people we would otherwise be absent from.
But even before the advent of air travel, Christians have had the ability to transcend space and time with each other through communion. When we partake of the bread and the cup, it's not only Jesus who is present with us, but our brothers and sisters from around the world join us too. And it's not only those who are presently alive who share this symbolic meal with us. We are united with the faithful of all times and places - past, present, and future. The coolest thing that our family experienced in Rome were the catacombs. It was amazing to walk around the final resting place of our brothers and sisters in Christ from 2,000 years ago. So when Roger prayed for Christian unity on Sunday evening as our North Dublin Christian Community shared in Christ's meal, I was reminded that not only was I communing with fellow believers back in Austin, I was fellowshiping with all the believers who have come before, including some of those whose bodies are awaiting the resurrection under the city of Rome. It also helped me to anticipate that banquet in the age to come which will replace the symbolic presence of our distant relatives with their actual presence. And not only will we be present with the saints of all ages, we will eat and drink in the glorious presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! That's a meal worth living for. - Shay