A tip of the hat to Anna, who pointed me to this post by Jacob Waldron.
Church is hard.
Church is hard for the person walking through the doors for the first time, afraid of judgement.
Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.
Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.
Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together but doesn’t.
Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.
Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands and seemingly perfect families.
Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.
Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.
Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.
Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.
Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.
Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby of their own to love.
Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.
Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.
Church is hard for the sinners.
Church is hard for me.
It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Our Sunday best in behavior and dress. But underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, and selfish motives.
But, here is the beauty of church—
Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation.
Church is a body.
Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace and living in fellowship as saints.
Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.
Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.
Church is a refuge for broken hearts, and a training ground for mighty warriors.
Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.
Church is a lesson in faith and trust.
Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.
Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, and rejoicing in the smallest of victories.
Church, the body—and the circle of sinners-turned-saints—is where God resides. And if we ask He is faithful to come.
So even on the hard days at church…
The days when I am at odds with a friend,
When I’ve fought with my spouse because we’re late once again,
When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face,
When I’ve worn a scarlet letter under the microscope,
When I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung,
When I’ve walked back in—afraid and broken—after walking away…
I’ll remember that God has never failed to meet me here.
The thing about Jesus is that he liked people who were nothing like him. And people who were nothing like Jesus LIKED Jesus.
This weekend, be the church. Not the building, not the trappings, and not the judgmental place people sometimes expect.
Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds, not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.
Hebrews 10:24-25 VOICE
Be like Jesus.
Inspire someone. Encourage someone. Be sanctuary to someone. Let them find peace and rest in being with you, and in so doing be the envoy of Jesus whom they desperately need.