Landing in Brussels at the end of my intensive European tour reminded me of our first conference there in 1999. A most upright Catholic man and Living Waters leader, Maurice Barthelemy, rallied several hundred people in the center of the city for a healing gathering. The Holy Spirit brooded tenderly over an assortment of sinners from different faiths, tongues, and fractures of soul. We united under the one Cross and Jesus gathered us like chicks under His wing. Marvelous.
Now smiling down from heaven, Maurice had wisely passed the Living Waters baton to his son Geraud who had gathered his Living Waters leaders from around Belgium to meet with me last week.
Perhaps that was the first small miracle. Years earlier, I had initiated a change in Belgian leadership from Maurice to a wonderful couple who led the charge there for over a decade. In spite of some hurt feelings over my decision and inevitable insensitivity as to how I transitioned his father from leadership, son Geraud faithfully continued to run a Living Waters group. The couple I had appointed recently handed back the Belgian leadership to Geraud, who with his lovely wife Ann decided to tend the work in Belgium. Father Maurice’s mantle proceeds through his son who continues to heal a divided, challenging nation.
Our gathering took place in Flanders, the Flemish–speaking and predominantly Protestant part of Belgium (in contrast to the French-speaking, Catholic majority). Their Living Waters groups are a glimpse of the grace and patience and love required to combine members who differ in language, church tradition and relational problems. Geraud and Ann (and team) bridge these gaps graciously; over the course of our time together, God gently challenged my boldly American style of expression. Though exposed, I welcomed the Spirit’s invitation to rest in the Father’s way: how He delights in bridging human differences in order to heal us in myriad ways. In spite of my travel weariness, I left renewed.
I marvel at this Belgium ‘bridge’: the One who unites father and son, Flemish and French, Protestants and Catholics–sinners of all sorts under one Cross. Belgium is a prophetic glimpse of how our God is preparing one Bride for Himself.