Old Style Garages and the Bond of Christian Fellowship
By Brad Hewey
Sweet Christian fellowship and the bonding that you find in “Old Style Garages” have some similiarities. Nevertheless, Christian fellowship is fundamentally different from a club.
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When we think of the word “garage”, we most often associate it with the structure that is attached to our house, or at the end of our driveway… that structure we drive our vehicle into at the end of a busy day. But the word “garage” also applies to the old service stations that have all but disappeared across Canada.
Garages As One Stop Shops
Service stations, or gas stations have come of age. They are a virtual one stop shop. The pumps are hi tech dispensing machines, aligned in rows of 6 or 8 or 12, growing in size and stature upon every corporate style overhaul. They tower above us now, and appear as vending machines from years ahead of their time. Part of the “filling up your tank” experience is a quick hop into the onsite convenience store. These stores are modern, brightly lit, and are geared to hit us in the wallet with all of the extra offerings. Whether it be necessities or snacks, newspapers or lottery tickets, they’re heavily stocked with all the goodies that seem to cater to virtually every one of our senses. These gas bar convenience spots are more like a trendy condensed grocery store swag shop, often paired with a fast food chain to boot.
The days of a gas attendant pumping our gas and cleaning our windshield; while the mechanics bay was humming with the noise of men welding or hammering out a bend in a tailpipe, are long gone.
Old Style Garage
Most younger urban dwellers, apart from references in a movie, would probably not have, or have had…the experience first-hand, of feeling the particular vibe that goes hand in hand with an encounter with a well-oiled, old style garage. And when I say, “old style garage”, I mean a garage, a service station, a gas station, where old broken cars, and old men are found just hanging about.
Even here in the Maritimes, it’s harder to stumble upon these, but it is still possible. And stumble I did. Recently on a commute of a few hundred kilometers, I ended up on a detour off the 101 hwy, onto the old route 8. The weather was nice, and I wasn’t rushed or in need of making up lost time, so I kept a bit under the speed limit, enjoying the bends in the road, and the unfamiliar communities passing by. I wasn’t completely certain of how much longer the detour might last, and if I’d be near a fuel station upon re-entry to the main highway.
I could see a small gas station up ahead, so I took advantage of the chance to gas up, and avoid that uneasy feeling that comes over you when you’re running on empty and not sure where you are.
As soon as I pulled up to the pump (and yes, there was just one pump, as the other one was out of service ) I could tell I’d stepped back in time. I was instantly amused. I assumed immediately there wouldn’t be a pay at the pump option, swipe the air miles card, grab your receipt and go. Right I was. The pump was well worn, older, and you had to push down the side lever to activate the fuel. Nifty.
When I entered the garage to pay, I swung the door open and wasn’t surprised that there were no bright shining lights or freshly made sandwiches and sliced pizza under the heat lamps. This was an “old style garage”. I was met with the smell of gas and oil and grease, and a stare from 5 older fellers, old men…. retirees, just hanging out midday, as they undoubtedly did most every day. I flashed them a big grin, and we spoke about the detour, and how much traffic and business was probably rolling through the normally much quieter road. I paid for my gas, grabbed a couple of snacks, got some direction confirmation from the clerk, and bid the old fellers a farewell. I could hear their spirited chatter continuing as I made my way to the car, and pulled away.
As I thought about them, and this throwback of sorts to a simpler time, I realized that these old boys had a bond, a definitive fellowship. They were communing as friends, they were drawn to a place where they felt relaxed, where they felt they contributed, where they felt their voices could be expressed, a place where they desired to be. They were there because they wanted to be there.
When we as Christians gather in our places of worship, it is because we have a true bond of fellowship, and a heartfelt desire to be there. The Psalmist tells us, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
Some of us are gathering in very small numbers, week after week. Old buildings, with stark surroundings, little interest from the outside, little interest from the young, the new, the fresh. But of all places we encounter during the run of the week, it’s the place we most desire to be. Or the place that we should most desire to be. The spirit calls us unto fellowship, and when we heed that call, we are blessed ever the more, we are drawn ever the more.
Christian Fellowship, Not Just Friends
Unlike gathering in a garage, it’s not just a group of friends who share many common bonds, it’s not simply a club or a legion gathering. It’s a union sanctified and set apart, it’s a bond we have that is directed from the heavenly abode, and we bow down in worship with a measure of disbelief that we have been called, we have been included, we have been set aside as.
1 Peter 2: 9 says: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”.
God can use all things to bring us to a remembrance of himself; of his Son. As we go about our day, our week; whether it be an encounter at an old garage, a glimpse of the sun on the horizon, or a simple sound being carried on the wind, lets allow God to refresh us with a heightened sense of his presence, with a heightened sense that he has “called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
And yes, we are a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, but it not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Sweet Christian Fellowship
God desires that very same relationship with every person in this entire world. We pray today, that hearts and lives would desire to get to know him, as Lord and Savior, Redeemer and Friend, and to enjoy that sweet fellowship that is promised to all who put their faith and trust in him.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder. Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter, and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
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Images Courtesy Of:
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HopeStreamRadio has been a huge blessing to me. Since I moved away from an area that had a lot of good Christian radio I have been looking for a station that I could listen to and be encouraged by. HSR has filled that void and it has also been exciting to be a part of the team that contributes to HSR.Mike from MS