For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. ~Matthew 18:20
I’m sorry to mention moving again. But it is the season we are in, so it is what I’m always reflecting on. It still feels like we are in the middle of moving. Even though we officially ‘moved’ eight months ago. I should say we moved all our stuff eight months ago. But it takes longer to move your hearts. This weekend I went back to our old stomping ground and we went to the church we had been attending for ten years before our move.
I walked into that familiar building and thought to myself, “The Church is beautiful.” Not the building (though ours is nice enough), but the people. It was like coming home. Our church really is a church family. I walked in and was hugged and welcomed like a long lost daughter returning home for a visit. There are people in that church family that feel like spiritual mamas and papas to me. Friends that feel like family. And everything is familiar and comfortable. The place was full of love for me.
I had one moment, where a woman I really look up to, came over to say hello, and I nearly burst into tears. I think it’s because she’s one of those women who prays, and prays, and then prays some more. She looked at me, and I felt like God used her love and care for me to reach out and put His finger right on a sore part of my heart. I suddenly realized that after all these months of moving and adjusting and being so busy, I hadn’t really noticed how lonely I have been. Relationships take time to build, so I don’t think this is a problem that I’m going to fix overnight. But it was nice to return to the familiar and to know that I am loved.
This is the Church. People. God uses our hands and feet to accomplish His Work on earth. He uses our words and actions to set hearts into motion towards Him. He uses our thoughts and dreams to spur us on to greater purpose in Him. It’s amazing really. This almighty, all powerful God chooses us- the weak and lowly, the sinners, the misfits, the bumbling and confused. He uses us to accomplish His Work on earth. It is perhaps the most miraculous thing He does. He has already won*. He is winning**. His plan and purpose is moving forward***. And we are a part of that.
Now the reason I even wanted to blog about this is something my friend said to me. After sharing how I’ve been feeling with her, she said, “I guess that’s what makes community so important. Because wherever two or three are gathered, Jesus is in the midst of them.” We need community to help us feel close to God. God is always close to us. He is with us- Emmanuel; God with us. We are the ones who get distracted and discouraged. We are the ones who need others to encourage us. We are the ones who need community. We need the Church. And though we are not perfect, we, The Church, are beautiful. Because where two or more are gathered, God is in the midst of us.
Lord God, I thank you for your Church! I thank you for the people you have put into our lives that draw us nearer to You, and I thank you for the people you will bring into our lives who will draw us nearer to You. Please bless our hands and feet to do what You have purposed us for. Please fill our hearts and minds with Your Words, Your Love, and Your Thoughts. Help us to see the good in others, and to call out that good. Help us to be encouragers, to love people as they are, and to bless. For our friends and family, and even us, help us to be in community with the Church. That we would be in Your Presence, and our hearts would be in tune with Your Heart. In Jesus name, Amen!
*John 19:30 “When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
**1 John 2:8 “Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.”
***Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
****What is up with these weird blog pictures that have nothing to do with the blog? Well, what kind of pictures would I have that would be ‘church’ pictures? I thought about how a church can feel like a family, and went looking for some family pictures. I wanted summer pictures, because it’s nice out and I thought the Christmas family pictures would be confusing… then I just kept finding summer vacation pictures that made me smile, so I put them all in the blog post. Because honestly, I’m the kind of person who looks at the pictures, but doesn’t always read the blog.