Yesterday in church, our pastor presented my daughter Caroline, who is about to graduate from high school, a gift from the Ladies’ Group. As he called her up, he said he had music to play for her and the song, “Sweet Caroline,” began to play. The gesture was so thoughtful as was the gift. This mama’s tender heart was moved to tears.
A few more announcements were made and then our pastor recognized a widow who was in attendance. She had just lost her husband the week before. The celebration service had been the day before. Her attendance, when she literally had a dozen reasons not to attend during her deep grief was remarkable.
Both recognitions drew applause from the congregation and I was once again, moved to tears. I held them both close to my heart and I thought about them hours after our church service.
We love to talk about how the Christian Church gets it wrong. The Church is made up of people and people are broken. People will sometimes gossip. People will do and say inappropriate things. People will hurt your feelings.
But, the Christian Church was always meant to be much more than the individual weak and broken people who make her up. The Christian Church was born at Pentecost, baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Its purpose is to spread the love and truth of Jesus Christ. Its purpose is to offer hope to a dark world in dire need of it.
With people involved in that mission, we will inevitably mess it up from time to time. There are those who just cannot accept humanity’s failure and will write off the entire Church Universal, over words or behaviors of one or two people in particular churches.
But, the sad truth is that if we stop attending and participating in the community of church because of something that people did, we weren’t attending for the right reason anyway. When a Christian stops attending worship with other Christians, over hurt feelings and elects to stay at home, who wins?
It’s not God.
What would happen if those of us in strong church communities, chose to share what our churches do that is good?
Yesterday, I witnessed two Christians on very different legs of their journey. One was joyful and one was grieving. Our church reached out to and loved both. We got it right and as we did, I’ve no doubt Heaven rejoiced.
Jesus loves the Church and we are called to as well. A graduate and a widow reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too. Perhaps you need to share.
Have an awesome day!