A letter to my community…

I have seen the church. It’s not a building, it’s not a preacher, or even a specific movement. The church is God’s people, united by Jesus living out the life and mission of Jesus in their every day lives. And I’ve seen Him.

I have read the story of the first church all my life. That first gathering of believers in Acts 2:42-47 has always seemed so far gone. Something to look back to and say this is what it used to be about, but then people go on with their lives, meeting their own needs, true fellowship was dead. I was wrong.

This year has been rocky in a lot of ways. It’s been great and joyful too, don’t get me wrong, but there has been a lot of hardship in family, health, car troubles, money, and just times where it seems like there is nowhere to turn. These times have taught me to look to God in everything as my hope and comfort, and I praise him for giving me times of trial because they test and build my trust in Him. The other thing that these times has taught me is that the body of Christ is alive and active, living out that vision of the first believers.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)

Time after time I have brought my struggles, needs, hurts, and grief to the community God has placed in my life for this time, and I am constantly overwhelmed by the outpouring of compassion, generosity, love, and support that comes back to me. I could go point by point through these verses and brag on how I have seen the people of God around me living this out, but all I really want to do express my gratitude to God and to the people in my life who have shown me Jesus and let me hurt out loud in the hard times, and who have celebrated with me in the good. You are the embodiment of Christ in my life and in the lives of so many others, thanks for being the church.
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