What a difference a week makes! Last Sunday I wrote a post about my experience with "John"---it was a hard Sunday--a good one, but hard. I am thankful today for my place of worship-Providence Baptist Church. Below are some truly random ramblings that came out of my worship experience this week:
This week I had invited a new family from school to come to church. They had already been invited, but it's a pretty big place so I offered to meet them there and get their kids where they needed to go. What a beautiful thing to see the body of Christ embrace them and care for them. When I arrived I saw that they were already there in the lobby---being greeted by two other Trinity families who recognized them and were taking care of their needs. It was funny, I sat with them in another location today---I realized I had NEVER in my 12 years at Providence sat in this part of the church---isn't that funny how we get stuck sitting in the same location every week? Do you do that? Anyway, as I sat there, I noticed people I've never seen before. I usually sit on the other side of the building and I do see the same people most weeks. I think that's what makes a large church seem small---- But as I sat there in a "new environment", I realized that all of these people are experiencing life---they are in different places in their lives. I began to think about how you meet the LORD wherever you are---no matter what you're dealing with in life---the Lord meets you there. If you are in rebellion, he pursues you. If you are hurting, he holds you in his arms. If you seek wisdom, he freely gives. He is there. He is faithful---now, he's "here," too---I'm not saying that he only meets me at church---but it is good to hear his voice---to hear him speak from God's word while you ARE there. I never want to go to a church where he isn't exalted---my church isn't a perfect place---mainly because it's filled with imperfect people---but there IS no perfect church. I have been in "church" work much of my life---I KNOW that working at a church is no different than working somewhere else. There are frustrations in any job, any organization you are a part of. BUT, I think the difference is that at least people are seeking the face of the LORD---and should be willing to try to make things right when they offend.
God is a good and faithful God and he pursues us. I'm struck by this fact that he pursues me. The GOD OF THE UNIVERSE--the One who holds it all together pursues ME because he LOVES me. I always think of how I love my own children and how I pursue them and long for a relationship with them....how I long to spend time with them....then I think of myself and my time with the Lord and I'm often ashamed of the time I have for Him. But every week I can gather with other like-minded believers and be reminded of God's sweet grace that is lavished on me in Christ.
I think a beautiful picture of the family of faith happened Sunday night during the baptism service. One of the girls who was baptized tonight had the most beautiful testimony. She has down syndrome and she answered some questions that our pastor asked her. She shared her story of her walk with Christ and then she sang two verses of Jesus Paid it All---- I just sat there in tears (again---not the right mascara---yeah....apparently, lesson NOT learned). It was just a beautiful night. I was thrilled to hear her sing. I taught her siblings in Children's Choir years ago---and there was just this connection to her whole family as I heard her stand in front of the entire church and sing. What a blessing---SO glad I got to be a witness to it. All of this made me more grateful for this family of faith I'm a part of. I hope you have the same experience where you worship. I'm so grateful for the body of Christ called Providence.