Monday, July 7, 2014

Come Together

Our church has 2 services every Sunday morning. I usually go to the first service and then stay for the beginning of the second service so I can see people and then I come home to get lunch ready for my family. I actually love that little bit of time by myself and I usually drive the back country roads home because it is very therapeutic for me. In the 3 1/2 years that we have been at the church, there is something I have witnessed every single Sunday (unless I ride home a different way). There is a little, old, wooden church I pass that has only ever had one solitary truck parked beside it. One truck. Every Sunday. For at least 3 1/2 years. Does anyone else find that strange?

(It's hard to see in this picture, but there is one truck parked to the left side of the church.)

I've tried to imagine what could have transpired in the life of the driver of that truck that would cause them to drive to church to meet with no one else every…single…Sunday…! I don't know if it's one individual or a family. I do know that there must be hurt and pain in their lives to do this every Sunday for as long as they have been doing it.

After a month or two of driving past and seeing this lone car each week, I decided maybe they were waiting for a sign from God before they moved on. You know, maybe a, "Let something happen that shows me You care and notice I am here," kind of thing…so I started honking on my way by. It may sound strange, but I wanted them to know someone saw them there all by themselves every week. I have considered pulling in and asking them why they continue to meet week-after-week on their own. I have considered inviting them to church with us. Not sure what that would look like. Maybe a, "Hey, I can't help but notice you're the only one here every week so, if you ever get tired of talking to yourself, come join us at The Cross." I have allowed common sense to prevail, though, seeing as I am a lone female on my way past. I'm not sure what I would be met with should I approach them so I just continue to drive by and honk.

Every week I am struck by the sadness of it all, though. I am struck with the fact that pain, bitterness, unforgiveness, arrogance or some other strong emotion has to be at the root of it. I mean, the simple act of driving to church every Sunday to meet by yourself seems like quite an exercise in futility, but maybe that's just me. Stay home in your pajamas and worship Jesus if you're going to do it by yourself. They have either been hurt and resolved to never let anyone get close enough to hurt them again OR they think that their way is the only way and so if no one is going to join them then they will just meet by themselves. 

Either way, I just don't see the model for this kind of church anywhere in scripture. Even Jesus, God in the flesh, picked 12 guys to hang out and do life with!! If anyone could have survived on His own without the need for mere humans, it was Jesus. Scripture is replete with examples and admonitions to live life together, though!!

Hebrews 10
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

I read this quote this morning and agree with its sentiment completely…

“We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young, and hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old...We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other. These friendships are a necessary source of sustenance. We need to renew our faith every day. We need to lock arms and help build the kingdom so that it will roll forth and fill the whole earth.”   Marjorie Pay Hinkley
None of us were designed to live in isolation. If that were true then Jesus would never have needed the second great command to "love one another as yourself". The implication of this command is that we will be doing life together. One of my favorite scriptures that pertains to living life together is in Acts 4:32-34

All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them.

I am thankful for my friends and the people I get to do life with every week. I am thankful for the opportunity to meet with others who want to know Him better. I am thankful for a community of believers who will rally together to make sure everyone is provided for and that no one has to walk alone unless they choose to shun the love that is extended to them. I am thankful I don't have to do life on my own and I'm thankful my children are learning to live and walk in a way that shows we need Jesus and we need each other.

Lord, thank You for creating us for relationship…relationship with You, first and foremost, but also relationship with each other. May we be ever mindful that this is not only a gift but a responsibility. Thank you for the healthy culture of community You have built at The Cross Loganville. May we be a catalyst of love that draws others to You!!

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