Churches talk a lot about community.
Community is easy to talk about. It’s a great church buzzword. But it’s not always the easiest to truly, genuinely feel.
Today was one of the neatest church Sundays I can remember. And when I try to pinpoint exactly what made it so epic — I’ve settled on describing it that today felt like God’s Kingdom in action. People living together, laughing, crying, caring and giving selflessly to serve others. A bunch of normal, flawed, amazing, annoying, imperfect people doing life together.
Today was beautiful and full and real. And I wish every Sunday could be like it.
1. Made lattes on the espresso machine before church. Drank a pumpkin spice Americano. It was pretty great.
2. Hugged my friend with terminal brain cancer.
3. Chatted with my co-barista about life.
4. Sat next to my friends who just got back from their honeymoon.
5. Gathered as a church to lay hands on a couple whose son is sick. The boy’s dad cried telling us about it. He felt comfortable crying in front of our church–how many places can so say that?
The moment felt raw; real. Like what community is supposed to feel like.
I started crying during our group prayer for their family. And as we finished and walked back to our seats, I noticed I wasn’t the only one wiping away tears.
6. After the service, I made plans to watch a movie and bake cupcakes with a friend.
7. Then I made plans to get lunch on Tuesday with another friend who lives down the street from my office.
8. I helped a man in a wheelchair eat chili during the meal after church, while chatting about art and walks around the lake.
9. I talked with my favorite 2-year-old, watched his infant brother fall asleep. Then chatted briefly with his mom and dad.
10. (Finally got around to) cleaning up the espresso machine.
11. Talked with a friend’s son who is elementary school: I looked at his artwork and the video game he’s playing right now. (There were cartoon goats, and they were pretty cool. But the platypuses were my favorite.)
12. Chatted with my pastor abort the study space/art night for college students I’m hosting for the first time tonight.
13. Talked about spiritual disciplines — seeing benefits of them but not being discouraged when they don’t always reveal more about God in big ways. Appreciating when they do but trusting God to be working even when we don’t see the evidence of it.
Community. I am doing things I love (making espresso drinks) talking with people who make me happy (including lots of sweet kids) and getting to share life with people who are facing some really tough things right now. I can’t solve their problems. I can’t make it better. But I can give them a hug. I can pray for them. I can cry. And we can all work together and do what we can to help.
Because that is what communities do.
Churches get a really bad rap. And in many instances, rightly so. But I love being part of a church where I see community as I believe God intended. Caring-but-imperfect people living life together, chatting, sharing life, supporting and praying for each other.
Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done
As it is in heaven