Last week I posted this on my Facebook wall:
This morning at church we sang “We welcome You with praise” (from Chris Tomlin’s song “Here For You”). Sometimes it’s easy to welcome Him with praise. Other times, not so much.
I remember in early 2006 when we learned that Jonathan’s dad had brain cancer. A dear friend dropped everything to come sit with me. I couldn’t pray; she prayed for me. She told God that we bring a sacrifice of praise to Him, for today, it is exactly that, a SACRIFICE. She welcomed God with praise when I couldn’t do it myself.
I love the story in Exodus where Moses holds up his staff, and the Israelites gain the advantage over the Amalekites. Soon Moses’ arms are so tired he can’t hold them up, and Aaron and Hur find a stone for him to sit on. Then they stand on either side of him, holding up his hands. And his hands hold steady.
I remember when Jonathan’s mom was dying of cancer. It was Jonathan’s turn to lead singing, and his mom was in the congregation. As he was leading “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” he got to a point where he couldn’t continue. An elder took over the song leading, and two men came and stood on either side of him and literally held his arms up as we sang.
May we be people who band together, holding each other’s arms up in the battle. May we be people who join with the tired, the weary, and the hurting, and welcome God with praise even when some in our midst cannot.
He is still with us.
The next day I wondered why I’d felt so compelled to share that. Then I realized that it was because I was writing about the Church, and I love the Church. In fact, I get irrationally happy talking about the Church. I’m captivated by God’s great idea. His magnificent idea.
I didn’t expect my Facebook post to resonate with so many people, but it did. That tells me that we are hungry for the kind of community God designed, even as we sustain damage from His people through unhealthy or abusive church environments.
A couple years ago I wrote about all the reasons I love the Church. But it felt incomplete. There’s so much more to say, so much more to flesh out. My thoughts on the Church have been percolating for a while now. So this is my launching point for a series on the Church. It won’t be in any particular order or on any particular schedule. I’ll add to the series whenever I get the chance, and I’ll unashamedly share how I feel about Christ’s Bride, the Church.
Other posts in the Church series: