I went to church but I didn't go all the way in. To be honest, I just didn't feel like hearing another sermon. I have heard it all before. I have sat and filled in the blanks dutifully, like one more task I have to check off. Done. On to the next thing.
I miss the interaction. I miss how at my old church they would ask if anyone had a burden, a need. And then others standing by would surround them, touch them, hands like gentle doves lighting on shoulders, backs........ and the Pastor would pray. Sometimes they would cry and we would want to cry too. There is something powerful about the laying on of hands.....passing the Spirit from one to another.
It unifies us all.
Somehow I can't escape the feeling that we are leaving with our burdens intact. There might be a burning need right next to me, and I would never know it. An inner cry for help like a dial tone unanswered.
We leave as the islands we are. Untouched. Still carrying the heavy load.
I wonder and not for the first time if the Spirit is not quenched with all our organization. Just one Sunday I wish the Pastor would stop and say, "Now everyone turn to your neighbor, not the one you came with, the one you don't know, and pray for each other for 15 minutes."
And I miss the altar call. Some say it's just not needed anymore. It makes people feel embarrassed, singled out. But I disagree. I feel like it's what draws us all in, and holds us together. Makes us remember when we were the one propelled out of our seat, and how that aisle looked impossibly long.
And when it was just you and the Lord, and no one else. And somehow, you know that this one thing, this one moment will change the course of your eternal destiny. What in the world matters more than that? I believe churches are robbing their congregations when they take this Holy moment away.
Don't get me wrong. I believe in the church more than ever. When I miss it, something is wrong. But I also think that church happens more often than not after we leave the building.
As we sat yesterday with old friends, listening to all they have been through since we had last seen them I felt church happen with the exchange of tears. When she said she was finally getting help in dealing with the death of their little boy. That little boy who was their whole world and in some ways still is.
I can see how that little boy is so alive to them still. And how if he knew what a shadow his death made on their marriage, how sad he would be. I wish I would have told her that if he knew his Mommy was finally getting help, that he would smile from Heaven.
We talked of how it will never go away, he will never go away. But you learn to make some kind of peace with it. And go on for others who still need you.
Church happens when love happens, and not just on Sunday. But over coffee, in between classes, in parking lots, in school buses, everywhere God is.
It happens when we remember the Cross and what was done on it, for us. And that every single thing we bear in this life, He already dealt with.
It was nailed to the cross when He was.
In light of that, we stand at the edge of eternity every day. And with each day, no matter what we have to handle, our gratitude can't help but grow.
We just can't stop counting the gifts. Join me today? And Ann at Holy Experience here.