Our little church served the homeless at You Matter Ministry yesterday, and I have to say it again, “When we go there we bring it.” Even Rick, their pastor, said to Cindy, “I love it when your church comes, you even bring a choir.” Heck, we almost bring the whole church; that says a lot about us.
After the service, Chris, a Navajo Indian, came forward and asked for prayer. He was shaking badly because he needed a drink. He was worried because he hurt on the inside, and was having trouble eating. We gathered around him and prayed. He said, “I want to be honest if you gave me money I would go and buy a drink.” We stayed and listened to him for quite a while. When the prayer circle broke up he stepped back and began praising God in Navajo; it was beautiful. As he stood there with his eyes shut praising God his face was shinning.
An unexpected moment,
It starts with a distant howl after sunset. A lone coyote lets out his song into the night. He is simply calling to his pack, but the poet in me thinks he is saying, “I’m alone! Where are you? I need to get back!”
In the desert blackness is a reply; just as distant of a cry. It’s another member of the pack saying, “I’m over here; hurry and join me.” Shortly the other members of the pack add their voices. In my mind I picture silent padded feet trotting over the rocky desert floor to the meeting place. Each hurried on by the inborn nature to be together. When they meet they are overwhelmed with joy at being together again, and a coyote chorus begins. They sing because they don’t face the world alone.
After a week in the world I make my way to the church and think in a little way I’m like them. I want to see my Christian family and know that I’m not alone in this world; that there are others just like me. When we all arrive there is joy and singing because we are not alone in the night.
Happy Birthday N.V.C.C; you did it – yip, yip yippee! It’s our first birthday and it offers us a moment of pause; a reflection not on our hopes, but on Christ’s expectations for his Church.
I think one such expectation is that we are a congregation not filled with dead orthodoxy. By that I mean we are not relying on rote worship, repetitive liturgy, and some governing body’s dictates leading to a dead faith. Instead, we emphasize the heart of Christ which is found in the Bible. Philipp Spencer once said, “Christianity was not real if it is not felt; it is not authentic if it was not experienced.” Our response is not only knowing orthodoxy, but also orthopracy.
As we start year two, I hope we continue to seek the authentic Christ. The Christ of the cross, the son of God, the resurrected conquering savior, who fills the believer up with the Holy Ghost, forgives them down to their toes, and overflows to those who don’t know him.
I think of all of our holidays Thanksgiving is the nicest, for it has it all. There is a bit of patriotism, along with family, friends, sharing, and pie. Thanksgiving, for the most part, is a quiet day that has not been ruined by months of advertising nonsense, or garish decorations – I have yet to see a 10 foot blow-up turkey in anyone’s yard singing, Joy to the World. That may be because turkeys don’t share my point of view about the holiday.
Because of its quiet nature the holiday gets overshadowed by Christmas, and that is OK with me, for in times like these we need some quiet. We need time to be thankful about our country, our family, our blessings, seconds on pie, and that there are no singing turkeys. Have a quiet thanksgiving.
We closed Tuesday’s Bible study with, I’ll fly away.” Karmann began very slowly on her guitar, “One glad day when this life is ore…” By the time we hit the chorus we were in stride, “O I’ll fly away O Lordy; I’ll fly away…”
Our voices lofted out the open window into the cool evening like a fragrance. People exiting the park across the street heard our song, our joy and our laughter. Was this an example of what Paul wrote about, “We are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life” (2Cor 15)?
Paul’s words are one of God’s mysteries; an aroma from death…an aroma from life. The aroma of Christ’s testimony is always sweet-smelling, but it is received differently depending on which extreme a person is in: perishing, or saved. The one who rejects Christ is dying and smells their death. The one who has accepted Christ is living and smells life.
To Think About
“Beware what you brood on in secret for the fruitful opportunity will come when God and the devil will meet in your soul, and you will do according to your brooding”
The people we are close with we eat with. It’s a custom dating back to our first parents. Our thinking goes like this: I want to sit with you in the dinning room; my place today, your place tomorrow. Eating together is important. It allows us to catch up with each other. It’s a time to put things aside that have separated. It’s a time when we can form new friendships.
Once a month, instead of our mid-week Bible study, we have a fellowship meal together. Cindy does the main dish and everyone else brings something to pass. Last Tuesday was that time of the month for us. It is not intended to be fancy or impress, just a time for Christians to participate in an old custom; the results are automatic.
There was quite an age difference, from 4 to 70. Despite that, everyone prayed, laughed, talked, and sang. After we sang someone said, “What just three songs?” We laughed and sang another.
Often we get hung up on structure, and that’s a bit stiff. Tuesday was neither structured, nor stiff; just Christian joy.
It’s a good custom,