Last night, I came together as a part of our church body and participated in the Good Friday service. Greg spoke and talked about the 7 last words Jesus said on the cross. As a congregation, we sang about the gospel and participated in confession and repentance as we took the Lord’s Supper.
When I first became the wife of a pastor (which by the way I swore I would never be after growing up in a minister’s family:)), we had a pastor’s wives get-together. At this get-together, a guest who was an experienced pastor’s wife from another congregation, educated us that it was important to be seen supporting your husband. Her exact directions included sitting on the front row with him and rubbing his back gently for the congregation to see said love flowing between you. At this point, I stopped taking notes. I realized that I would not be a good pastor’s wife with this criterion because everything in me rebelled at that thought. Here we are, seven years later, and the first time I sat front row at our church with my husband was last night. With a sly smile, I threw in a gentle back rub.
Though not a front row sitter, I genuinely worshipped and enjoyed sitting front and center last night. From the first word sung, tears stung my eyes. The beauty of Jesus’ life, submission and obedience to the Father, and the heart of the gospel–my very hope was clearly articulated. I sat there thankful for the place God has us–where he has brought us. I reflected back to the time when Greg began his full role as teaching pastor, which ironically came about the time I turned 30. From 30 to 35 has been the most challenging time of my life–dad’s sickness and death, infertility, depression, Greg’s rheumatoid arthritis. From 30 to 35 has also been the most God-saturated part of my life–knowing Him clinging to Him more deeply. It hit me–this all happened around the same time Greg began teaching more. Now, I am not a spiritual warfare guru who sees demons around every corner planning my demise, but it hit me last night that not all of these things are coincidences. I have a firm faith in the Sovereignty of God–even in spiritual warfare, He has us–we are His and NOTHING is out of His control. (Read Job) But, at the beginning of the service, I realized that these things that we have experienced could be the cost of what we do. IT IS WORTH IT. Christ and His glory are worth it. This thought framed my worship as we all reflected on the death of Christ.
As we took Communion as a congregation, on the front row, we were the first to partake. After that, I watched a good portion of the congregation pass in front of me to take the bread and dip it in the cup. I cannot explain it–except for the Holy Spirit. I had such joy in seeing those brothers and sisters in Christ walk before me. Some I knew intimately in disciple-making relationships, some were dear friends, some were families that I see from afar, some were strangers, young adults, senior adults, children, singles, marrieds, widows. My heart was reminded of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 that we be one in Him–unified. With each face, I worshipped. The hope that we have in Christ flooded my heart, and I was so grateful for the exact place He has us–in this congregation.
God is so good. I have nothing and am nothing apart from Him. I celebrate in this Easter weekend the glorious death and resurrection of Jesus. I celebrate the cost of becoming like Jesus. I celebrate the family of believers that He binds together through His Spirit. I am not going to sit on the front row every week to rub Greg’s back, but I am thankful I did last night. Maybe that woman wasn’t all that crazy.