Why Church

Daily reading: Acts 2:1-4
Friday June 9, 2017

I have been part of the church for most of my life.  I was brought up in a large congregation in the Midwest and there found affirmation and challenge.  Church was both a place of belonging and of not belonging.  The paradox of that manifested itself in my high school years and a pulling away from the community and yet when I went away to college and found myself in an utterly new place beginning a new chapter in my life, I was pulled back to the church but I balance that longing with an exploration of world religions.  Despite my searching in new places, I felt a deep pull back to the place that first named and claimed me as one of God’s own.  For me, the church is a place unlike any other.

I firmly believe that church is a place of belonging.  The church community keeps me grounded, offers comfort and equally challenges me and for that I am forever grateful. 

The church I was serving before I came to El Paso was FCC Freeport.  It was a small community, we were happy if there were 8 in worship on Sunday.  The congregation was dying and they knew it.  My ministry there was more like hospice ministry than anything else.  While serving there my son Harry had surgery.  We had to travel to Houston about 45 minutes from our home to Texas Children’s Hospital early in the morning. 

That afternoon after we got home, Harry quickly fell asleep on me on the couch.  Soon after our door bell rang.  Now anyone that knew us, knew to come to our side door by our garage.  No one used our front door.  So thinking it was a sales man I didn’t answer it.  The ringing continued and then eventually the door by the garage was knocked on.  I carefully moved Harry off of me and went to the door, it was a dinner delivery man.  He said “your church really wanted to make sure you had dinner tonight, glad you came to the door.”  There was enough food to feed a small army.

The food was quickly followed by the delivery of a large balloon bouquet for Harry along with a stuffed animal.  They figured a three year old boy had no need of flowers.  And they were right.

Although the faith community was small, they responded with overwhelming love and compassion to my family.  That is the essence of supportive Christian community grounded in the gospel. 

The Spirit guides us and inspires us to put flesh and bone on the gospel of Christ.   It gives us the lens through which to see the world, and allows us a space to be fully welcomed and loved.  The church is a place where concepts are put into action and lives are changed.  That is what we celebrate, both in the gentle, quiet, thin spaces when we encounter God and also in those forceful, gusts of wind that grab our attention and tune out everything else happening around us. 


Prayer:  Gentle Spirit, nudge me and comfort the places of me that are broken and hurting.  Gusty Spirit, enliven me, infuse me and awaken me so that  myself centered ways of following ego and pride are knocked over and transformed by the truths of God’s unconditional love and grace.  Amen.

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