As a child, one of my most powerful memories of my grandmother, my Marraine, was the times we would gather at her home on Wednesday afternoons.
We called it “Koffie Glatsen”, and it was a time to exchange stories and catch up on news over coffee.
Now I never was one for drinking coffee, nor was I really into all of the gossip. The things I loved more than anything else were 2-fold:
First of all, before going to Marraine’s house, my mom would go to the local pastry shop and buy the best pastries in Oostende. Yum! As a matter of fact, my Marraine’s cat would always get excited on Wednesday afternoons, waiting at the door until we came in with the pastries. Apparently he liked pastries too!
Secondly, and by far most importantly, this wasn’t just for me and my mom. Rather, the entire family would be there! My aunts, my uncles, my brother, and best of all, my cousins, including Frederique, who was like a sister to me. While the adults would exchange the latest news and gossip, Frederique and I would escape to the garage and play spy — after we had eaten our pastries, of course! We would empty out the garage and string up ropes across the empty space, pretending they were lasers. Our goal was to cross the garage without getting “hit” by one of those lasers! Maybe we watched too much TV, I don’t know; but our vivid imaginations certainly kept us entertained! Thinking back, it is amazing that my Marraine never got upset at us for messing up her garage. She knew good and well what we were doing when we quietly slipped out the door, but I knew that when we returned, her face would be beaming. She was just so happy to see us so happy.
And it wasn’t just Marraine who was happy at the happenings of those “Koffie Glatsen” days. Everyone was happy, including the cat! It was really special to see how much the family was in unity in those days…
It isn’t an easy concept to find anymore, especially within families. And unfortunately, it is also very, very rare among church family as well. With petty disagreements within our church buildings, with rivalries between our churches and doctrinal divisions across denominations, I think the church could learn some lessons from my Marraine and those Wednesday afternoon “Koffie Glatsen”s! Wasn’t unity heavy on Jesus’ mind in His great pastoral prayer? “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23 NIV)
This prayer was given just before Jesus went to Gethsemane, and if unity was so heavy on His heart at this crucial time, shouldn’t it be heavy on our hearts as well? What if we were, just for a moment, to put aside our petty differences? What if we stopped trying to have more attendees than the church next door? What if we tried to work together with churches of other denominations? What if we were to stop judging our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, and instead, we were to forgive?
I know for a fact that it would make Jesus as happy as it made my Marraine when she saw the family together in unity!
In His love,
Director, Answer2prayer Ministries
(To access the entire “Ma Marraine” devotional series, please click here!