Not a pretty sight.
I walked into church and saw all the things I missed.
- Close fellowship with other Christians who are real, who struggle with sin natures and experience the glory of God in His great mercy and love.
- Feeling like part of a Family, the Body of Christ, with each member a vital part of the other, fit together for the purpose of building each other up, encouraging one another on to love and good works.
- Expository preaching. I've become a bit of a snob when it comes to preaching, I guess. I love to think through a passage verse by verse, with the historical context explained, and the idiosyncracies of the original language unpacked. Topical preaching isn't my cup of tea, although I could not fault the message, which was a good word from a good man who loves the Lord and seeks to bless His people.
- Having my children feel at home, welcomed, and part of the community. I think this is what bothered me the most. My kids feel like a fish out of water. They feel different. Strange. Weird. Odd. Out of place. This grieves me, for this is the church they grew up in.
- Great music. Songs and choruses that make you think deeply about the glorious doctrines of God. Not repetition for the sake of drumming up emotion.
So, I kept my eyes on the things I was missing, and completely failed to focus on what God gave me this morning.
- A welcoming smile from Danae, who shook hands with each of us & told us she was glad to see us.
- A worship team that sang their hearts out in praise to God.
- An opportunity to speak to a grieving family on the anniversary of their beloved mom's tragic death.
- A great message on being Single and Serving God Wholeheartedly.
- The joy of seeing a young father snuggling with his baby son, right in front of us.
- The delight of being with my family, in a church so close to home.
I could not wait to get out of church this morning, and on the way home I dissolved into tears. As I shared with my family the raw emotions that were overtaking me, they gently pointed out the errors of my thinking.
It's a struggle to return to a church that we left 10 years ago under unfortunate circumstances. I wonder what they're thinking when I walk in and people avoid me.
But what if they are struggling the same way about ME? What if my reluctance to reach out is keeping the wall built up? What if I were to die to self and look to Jesus, depending on Him to help me speak to the grieving family, greet the ones who are shy around me, and just love those He brings my way?
What if I could do that?
Please, Lord... Help me do just that.