I’ve been asked if it’s really worth the rush to the train station following the assembly in Prague and the 6+ hours of travel to make the trip to Brno on a Sunday afternoon. Sunday was another reminder of why the answer to that question is resoundingly “yes.” The train past quickly through the beautiful countryside, and the higher speeds they are now allowed to travel makes a lot of difference in the viability of the trip.
As I looked at the good, talented, and complicated group that had assembled it struck me again that this group probably as closely resembles one of the first century churches as much as any group I have ever seen. For their size, the talent level is amazing. In spite of having their share of challenges, their obvious love for the Lord shines through. The singing was so beautiful it was almost distracting. Jozef, who is a nationally recognized Hebrew scholar, did in a useful and humble way, make some fascinating comments on the Hebrew text in connection with the Lord’s Supper.
Before the assembly, we had a discussion of the material I had presented in the “Prague Study” the day before, and we had a handful of visitors who, after the assembly participated in a lively Q&A session. The quiet, night train back to Prague gave me time to reflect on a great day.
A preacher’s life can sometimes leave him unsure of where is “home.”. Near, if not at the top of my list, would be Prague. The Sunday I’m able to be with the church there is something that is always very special for me. Sunday was no exception.
The atmosphere was warm and optimistic, and their love for the Lord was evident. Karel did his usual good job teaching the adults, Honza Novak helped us focus our thought on the Lord’s Supper, and two other young men who are relatively new in their faith led prayers. Their positive outlook has been enhanced by the joy of having an elderly lady who left the group a number of years ago come back to be apart of them again. Seeing all of these things made it a little hard to control my emotions as I got up to speak. It was a wonderful morning.
For many years Christians from across the Czech Republic as well as occasionally from neighboring countries have gathered 5 times a year for a Saturday of intensive study. I have lost count of how many times I’ve been privileged to lead this study. Many times they have arranged the meeting around my schedule. Saturday was another of these occasions.
We met in Prague in a part of the a building that Honza Novak graciously made available.
It got off to a classic Czech start as we had to hurry in to begin from our time picking up apples together from the garden. We had the best turnout I have seen in sometime. The mood was positive and the people were hungry to study. We spent 3 hours working on “Temple Theology.” The Q&A session lasted until it was finally necessary to cut it off. It’s always great to see how these brethren from various cities love each other, sacrifice to spend this time together, and treasure their meetings.
As I hurried to a study on Saturday, I was struggling just a bit. The walk was long, and I was bleeding from blisters on both heels. I was starting to feel a bit sorry for myself until…
No trip to Prague will feel complete without spending an evening with the Vlcek’s. Thursday provided a great opportunity for that. Honza and I walked to pick up Terezka from gymnastics and then settled in for a nice evening of good food and even better discussions. On this evening we did not feel quite the pressure to “answer all the questions” since the family plans to travel to the village for our growing weekend study. Even with that, Honza managed to leave me with a great question I’ll need to study some more myself.
It still amazes and thrills me to see the level of knowledge many of the Czech Christians have reached. This week gave me another stellar reminder of this. I’m having the privilege of meeting with Robert to do a critique of a massive (probably almost 500 pages) work on a harmony of the gospels and Acts that he has almost finished. The level of his research is such that it challenges my thinking and makes me go back and look at things again. We had our first what what we hope will be several sessions of that earlier this week.