Monday, November 27, 2006

A day in our church...

I’m going to relate a phone call my wife received. But first I want to describe our time today from my perspective.

We started with prayer that God would bless our time together; that He would remind us to keep our conversations focused on Him and on loving each other; finally, that He would bless the food.

Then we ate and talked. Ten adults and five kids spread over two rooms. We chatted about the events in our weeks as we ate together. After about 15 minutes, I raised the question about our plans for next weekend. Every household in the church (except one) is traveling to a tourist area about 5 hours away. We will enjoy the mountains, a special dinner show, an amusement park, and extended fellowship. I'm still praying and plotting what we can do to "include" the one family that can't come.

After most were through eating and our travel plans were settled, I asked, "Who would like to share what God is showing you lately?" Four people shared. One of those seemed more "raw” so I asked a few more questions about it. It dealt with the perception that God wanted this person to grow in a specific way. Without giving details, the general theme was that the community affirmed for the person sharing that God was working to accomplish something painful, but very good in her. We commented on her courage for facing the issue and for being willing to share it. We took a quick side trip to note that her family members (that were present) would naturally feel some desire to reduce her discomfort. But that they should not yield to that. "Give God room and freedom to do His work in her life. That will sometimes feel to you and to her, like you are being mean, but you really are giving God the freedom to complete the work He has started."

We prayed and then shifted into our teaching time. I had felt impressed this week to give a very simple message about how God looks at people, and feels toward them, and how we do.

We discussed this together for a while and then dismissed. People lingered and talked for an hour or more.

Church happened.

Phone call: "Hey, I just wanted to tell you that I love my church. I was talking to my grandmother and telling her how much I loved going and meeting together. She asked me 'why?' I told her that while we were talking today, in the middle of our lesson, my 18-month old came rolling into the room on a little scooter. He just learned to do that this week, and the meeting stopped while everyone commented how wonderful it was that he could do that. You all praised him, recognized his accomplishment, and then went back to the conversation. He was not an interruption; he was a joy to be celebrated in the middle of our time."

I plan and pray for hours about what God would have me do on Sunday. What I believe He led me to, and what I therefore did, was good, but what was most powerful was our love for an 18-month old that was greater than our commitment to a planned agenda. It reinforces for me some of the things I believe God is teaching's not about propositional truth, it's about relational touch; it's not about teaching or leading a flock, it's about learning from and loving His loved ones.

No comments: