Monday, December 28, 2015

The Church Being the Church

This morning I was sitting with a family from our church who had just experienced the loss of a loved one from a battle with cancer.  As we were talking about the journey of wading through what I call the "swamp of grief," I heard a story that brought incredible joy to my heart.

Last week after our Candlelight Christmas Eve service, a group of folks from our church went to this family's home to do some Christmas Caroling.  They had been keeping tabs on them and knew it had been a tough few weeks in and out of hospitals, so they decided to give of their time and offer a little bit of Christmas cheer.  As the story was being told to me, the family said, "That was Christmas for us!"

A simple gesture of love and friendship that made more of an impact than any one of the carolers probably realized.

What a great picture of the Church in action.  Paying attention to one another.  Being mindful of each other's burdens.  Listening to the Spirit and taking action to share the love and light of God with one another.

We didn't need a Christmas Caroling program.  We didn't have to get approval from a committee.  No one from the staff or leadership group needed to be in charge.  God's people were simply being God's people - fully empowered to carry His love and light into the world around them.

What an honor it is to be a part of the Church being the Church!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Not again?!      Yes, again.

I almost couldn't believe what I was reading and seeing as the news outlets began to cover the insanity of another mass shooting. It almost feels like it has become so common place that the actual sting of the reality of what is happening has been lost. Somehow instead of allowing another event of horror and pain to drive us into action, we are lulled into inaction, tempted to think, It's just a new reality we have to face.

As I was reflecting on these ideas, I was struck with two thoughts related to this season of Advent. The faith community I am a part of is engaging in an Advent theme of Searching for Shalom.  We are attempting to both recognize the deep longing that we have for true peace - the wholeness of God's Shalom, and to remember that as His people who are already experiencing that Shalom, we are called to be vessels of it in this world.  We are both recipients of God's Shalom, called to experience and share it, at the same time we continue to long for it to come even more.

Advent is a season that reminds us that even as we live into the reality of the beauty and love and grace of God, that our souls are still longing for it to come.  We hold in tension the joy of knowing God's Shalom and yet still desiring to see it pour out in it's fullness.  We are called to Search for Shalom in a way that allows us to experience and share it, but also to still long for it to break in more and more.

One of the common prayers of this season is the simple phrase, Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

That prayer feels especially poignant today.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.