Tuesday, December 17, 2013

what's so amazing about church

On Sunday, a slew of little moments added up to the glowing feeling that a lot of things are going just right in our world.

There was the friend from our our community group who had her new son from Ethiopia sitting beside her in the first service. He knows only a little English, but his smile said more than any child ever could with words.

There was the woman I spoke with whose children have grown up, who hopes to mentor young women with all she has learned about faith and career in her life in corporate America.

There was another woman who handed me her address so I could deliver a bag of much needed clothes for her daughter.

There was the moment Mr. Fantastic leaned over and told me he ran into a homeless man in the bathroom who gently wept as he shared how much he loves the church.

There were announcements made about specific ways to give gifts to local schoolchildren or donations to orphans abroad.

There were all the children on stage singing in the Christmas program with happy faces and more love than any of us could bear.

There was a video with all the stories about all that has happened at CCC in 2013, with funny outtakes from all the announcement videos we have done.

There were the many, many neighbors and friends and coworkers who aren't Christians, who came simply because they were invited.

There was the woman wearing very old clothes, who probably has no real home of her own, who complimented me on my outfit. It's a gift to be loved like that, humbly and without agenda or expectation of a return on the investment.

If you look around any given Sunday at our church you will see a sampling of almost every people group Austin has to offer- even some you might not expect to find in church. And when we walk into that that church building it all just makes sense somehow.

It makes sense that we who long for Christ would come together like this if Jesus is real. Because it won't matter how much money we make, or in what decade we were born, or what color our skin might be, or how we lean politically, or what kind of music we listen to, or how much spare change we have in our pocket, or how well we did in the stock market, or if we have showered today, or if we wear the latest fashions, or if our appearance ranks last on our list of priorities because a lot of days we aren't sure how we will make it until tomorrow.

Outside the walls of this church we are very different people with very different lives. But in here we are all just the children of God, and when we worship Him and love one another it's like heaven touching down. We are transformed in this place and we walk out united by His love.

The hope for our wretchedness of sin to be transformed into the glory of God makes us a family. The love we feel for Him overflows into our love for each other, and then out past the walls of a church building and into the world out there.

We meet for lunch and to see movies. We keep each others' children and help carry boxes when moving day arrives. We pray for neighbors and families and ask God for favor and healing. We cry when grief overwhelms our friends, and we cheer with great fanfare when new jobs or new babies arrive.

This is some Jesus kind of church. This is God's kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven. This is amazing and I am grateful to be a part of this beautiful group of people.

Yes, my heart glows and warms as I think of all God has done in all of us. Glory to God in the highest, indeed.

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