This is for those who are unsure about reaching out, reaching in. Who feel on the outside of church but aren’t sure about the inside either. And it’s a reminder to those who have stepped out, and it’s a reminder to those who have walked through. And it’s for me, to acknowledge to myself why church matters.
There are many reasons for engagement in community and the lives of others, but the one I’m thinking about today is that it is life to me. Rich, sweet life.
It looks tedious, having to commit and follow through, being inconvenienced, pushing through awkward stranger-ness, leaving the house (aka getting dressed). It looks tiring, giving time to others, serving, intentionally pursuing depth, praying for people. It can appear so much less, so ordinary, so basic. But step inside, and you find something bigger than what you saw. Something bigger on the inside. The gladness of rejoicing with those who rejoice. The gravity of weeping with those who weep. The miracles of healing, the growth of struggle. The character that blossoms as we set ourselves aside. The beauty of being loved, period. The opportunity to wash feet, and to intercede. The becoming our truest self, closer to and more like Jesus. The relief of being known. The strength from encouragement and from a common foundation and truth. The blessing of the pleasure of blessing. The joy of loving. The deep satisfaction of familiarity. The wonder of all this.
This is the great world that is the Church, my friends. It is heartbreak and glory, dust and beauty. It is the ideal banner of good news and the disappointment of the fall. It must be, if the earth is to know the Gospel. The Church, she is the gift of God. He gives rightly, and shall we not receive? We are God’s own, and Christ considered us worth everything. He has given us His Church, and I daresay she is worth it.