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by Cary Branscum


The Most High does not live in houses made by men... (Acts 7:48)

    The New Mexican sun rose red and cold on the plaza in Santa Fe. It was a Sunday morning and the wintry air was crisp and fresh. Our breath turned to crystal as we walked to a coffee shop just off the plaza. My son and I were in town for a job interview that may allow him to work and live in a town he and I both love. My first trip to Santa Fe was twenty years ago, and like many others all over the world, I fell beneath the spell of the place. Sure, in some ways it’s a town like many others in this 21st century. At the same, time it is the “City Different.” Beneath the modern pulse beats the lifeblood of Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo influences still evident in the art and life of the city.

    We gently walked our mugs of coffee to a small table near a window in order to watch the rising sun color the adobe houses across the street. Even though it was a Sunday, I was thinking “in the box” — that means I was planning our itinerary for the day, where we would go, when, and how. Of course, there was a box for God as we planned out the location, place, and time of our worship. Then, we would get on to the other boxes on our list.

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! (Hebrews 13:6)

    As I worked on the “plan,” another customer scooted into the corner table near us. He was, to say the least, interesting. He had the look of a street person who was clean and well-kept. His long, red shoulder-length hair was neatly parted in the middle, and his flowing red beard matched his hair perfectly. He had on an army fatigue jacket and beautifully polished hiking boots. From his leather backpack, he produced a worn leather Bible, a rumpled notebook, and a stub of a pencil with a rubber band wrapped around it as a grip. Looking up, he noticed my small pocket size New Testament that lay next to my planning calendar on the table. David and I smiled and nodded at him, and he smiled and nodded in reply.

So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified. (Romans 15:7)

I had been open to the wonder and surprise of God’s presence and I was richly blessed for it.
    Gently he turned toward us and said, in a faint English accent, “You know brother, God is more interested in having a relationship with us than he is in having us be ‘religious.’” Surprised, I recovered quickly, and agreed with him. As we conversed, it was obvious this man was a dedicated Christian and world traveler. In beautiful ways, we talked about the Old Testament’s clear references to Jesus as the Christ of God. He shared with me the amazing ways Jesus truly fulfilled what was spoken of Him hundreds of years before his physical birth. It became a sermon for me, as he shared insights from the Bible I had never heard before, but will always remember. After a lively hour, the three of us prayed together, and we were off.

For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them. (Matthew 18:20)

    With a new spring in my step, I was no longer thinking “in the box.” I had been open to the wonder and surprise of God’s presence and I was richly blessed for it. Truly, God does not live in our boxes, he is Spirit, and he is everywhere. He is in a sunrise, His Word can be taught by redheaded wandering prophets, and He definitely inhabits the praise of His people. Truly, in Him we live, move, and have our very being as the apostle Paul tells us in Acts 17.

    Thank you God for those who have traveled the world, and traveled the centuries, to bring us your Truth. Get us out of our boxes. Get us into your Word and into the World for which Jesus died. See you in Sante Fe! Or in the Sunday sunrise! Or in the praise of the Messiah of God, our promised Savior, and the world’s redeemer.

May God’s grace be upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (Ephesians 6:24)
      Title: ""
      Author: Cary Branscum
      Publication Date: March 14, 2002


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