A friend I met in Germany several years ago recently sent me the following thoughts that someone else had sent to him and reminded him of the role his church plays in his life with God. I hope you’ll also find it to be a helpful reminder of what it means to be part of the authentic, precious, grace-filled community we call the Body of Christ here at St. Andrew.
Church is hard. Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgement.
Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world. Church is hard for the person who looks like they have it all together but doesn’t. Church is hard for the widow and widower who comes filled with grief. Church is hard for the leader with an estranged child. Church is hard for the choir member overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics in that song. Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate. Church is hard for the teenager ashamed of their mistakes or hiding their doubts. Church is hard for adulterers, liars, cheats, and slanderers. Church is hard for sinners. Church is hard for me.
But, here is the beauty of church—
Church is a body. Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.
Church is a community of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love. Church is a holy ground where we stand as equals before the Throne of Grace. Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors. Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation, where brokenness is confronted, and hearts are invited to seek restoration. Church is a lesson in faith and trust. Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope. Church is a family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories. Church is a community in which God resides.
So even on the hard days at church — the days when I am at odds with a brother or sister in Christ … when I fought with my spouse because of something that isn’t even a big deal … when I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face … when I’ve stood justly accused … when I’ve fought back tears as a song was sung … when I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away – I’ll remember that my church may not be perfect, especially if I’m part of it. But God will never fail to meet me there.
God bless you in month #2 of 2019! May our Lord meet you every time you come to worship, learn, fellowship, and serve here at St. Andrew. And may we be a beautiful church even in the hard times for the glory of Jesus and the hope of the world!
With love and gratitude,