I remember the moment last December. I looked up at each person passing in front of me. Some were faces that I had known up close and from afar.
Seated near the front of the congregation, I got the distinct privilege of witnessing the holy moment. Person and after person with real stories and struggles took the bread and the cup and were reminded of the exchange of their hearts. Heaviness traded for joy–what a defining moment.
That moment sealed my love for our congregation all over again. Being in a large church, It is impossible to know everyone or even the majority. However, I am reminded that we are all part of the family that was once far off and that have been reconciled. We are a mess together.
Every Sunday that we have Communion, which is the first Sunday of the month at our church, the kindling of love is stoked again. First, in my heart toward the Lord and then in my heart toward His people. It is a corporate moment that is also very intimate. The privilege of praying for them–for those hidden struggles in the heart, the places of unbelief–undoes the walls of protection that I have built. It simplifies the heart of the matter.
It is a more common practice today to not be a part of a local congregation. Sometimes it’s because of hurt and mistrust that occurred through a wounding experience(s), and sometimes it is convenience with a “spiritual sounding” wording. What I can tell you is that when gathering together and being reminded of our hearts, the Truth, His kindness that leads us to repentance, and His beauty that one cannot walk away the same. Church is not meant to be a place to perform–oh no. It is meant to be a place to be reminded of who we are in the light of who He is. It is meant to be a place to spur one another on toward a life lived with Him as the center. It’s messy and beautiful and frustrating and liberating, and it is His purpose as we walk with Him on this Earth. We learn to love in a way that is not easy or convenient, but it is a beautiful reflection of His heart and His power.
Yesterday was another day that I participated in awe of God and in prayer for the lives that walked in front of me, and I thank Him for the privilege.