I have been asking this question to my Heavenly Father about church for sometime now. Today I experienced church at its best. It started at 8 am this morning as Clarence and I arrived at our church location, which is a soup kitchen. There to greet us was all our homeless friends just sitting and talking among themselves after eating breakfast. The first thing they asked is how can we help you? We told them we had two cars to unload for church, once they were done, I thanked them and they said after all you have done for us, that is the least we can do for you. I thought what have we done for them, we don’t even know all their names? God reminded me of the text,” Cast your bread upon the water and it will return to you”. I was humbled.
Then as I was picking up one of our members with her little boy and we conversed about different issues, I began to catch a glimpse of what church is all about. I couldn’t process it just yet, as it wasn’t time so I stored the information and arrived at the building we call “church”. The band was rehearsing, people were bringing food in, The clothes were piled neatly outside for people to take, as they needed. One by one the people were getting their needs met. Some came in, some didn’t. The music led me right to the throne of grace, (thanks Mike, Kate, Cindy, Aramis, Francis, and Alivia), as I repented from some of my behaviors this past week. The message was on Grace “go figure”. It was what I needed as I saw grace being poured out on each individual, including myself, as God put different people on different hearts to minister to each other. It started with transporting the people there as many do not have transportation.
I stood in the back of the church and watched as one by one the homeless came in to hear Bonnie share a message on Grace. It was then that it hit me…what makes church, “church”? It is loving on people and then being able to be vulnerable to share our bad stuff as well as our good stuff. It is being real without being afraid that someone will put you down, when you are already there. It is about earning the right to be heard as you sit there and listen to those that no one wants to see in their church, never mind listen to them. Church is each one of us being willing to be vulnerable and allowing the Holy Spirit to change us and to use us for His glory. Church is a building where a bunch of “churches” get together and share their talents and gifts with each other as the Holy Spirit grows us more and more to look like Jesus
I saw people that don’t generally get too much involved with church serving each other today, because we became willing to let go of some of the reins, and allow them to be “church” as well. Thanks Beverley for being our new Head Deaconess. Thanks for using so many ” hidden jewels” to help you serve the pot luck meal. Clarence said the cake that you made, Janine, was awesome! He had three pieces! Thanks for all those that brought dishes to make our first full pot luck a success and such a blessing.
Thanks Pam for loving on our kids, even little Chase took a shine to you today. You have the personality that draws these little ones in so much so Nehemyah could quote his whole memory verse. You attract kids like Jesus did. I am so glad you listened to the Holy Spirit’s call and joined us.
Thank you each one of you, for being “church” today. Have a blessed and God-honoring week. Thanks Bonnie, Cindy, and Mardee for being willing to be vulnerable with the tough stuff in your lives, to be used by God to bring glory to His name.
I leave you with what one of my homeless friends, Allen said to me as he helped cleaned the tables for me. I am so glad I came today I was so blessed…I can say amen to that.
Thank you Jesus for using us to bring glory to your name. Thanks Mike, Kate and Jillian for your clothes and music ministry that blessed so many today.