By Nancy Virden (c)2021
One distinct Sunday, I experienced church as it is meant to be experienced. The teaching was about how we are to be reconciled with God, with each other, and then be ambassadors to reconcile others to God. The leader spoke of a sense of heaviness in the room (it was my broken spirit). As the morning progressed, it lifted.
An attendee I will call Taylor was led by God’s Holy Spirit to tell a personal story never before shared in public. For privacy reasons, all identifying details in the following retelling are disguised.
Once, as a young adult, Taylor was cocky and argumentative though a parent was only trying to help with a task. From the bedroom, angry Taylor played a very violent song to hurt the parent’s feelings. Suddenly, it seemed as if a spiritual punch caught Taylor in the stomach, grabbing Taylor’s attention.
Taylor saw how the parent had been a best friend despite all the ways Taylor had hurt the parent. Broken-hearted, Taylor went downstairs, apologized, and confessed love and gratitude to the parent.
A few days later, Taylor’s sibling had a huge argument with the same parent and chose to not reconcile. Within a week, the parent died in a car crash. Taylor spoke of bittersweet blessings found in the experience, while the sibling felt the affects of a guilt-ridden curse. Taylor warned us to own our wrongdoings and consider, Do I need to ask forgiveness? What is the sin in my heart?
The church leader shared scripture teaching that empty rules and sacrifices are not what God wants, but that he desires for us to do right, love mercy, and walk humbly before him (Micah 6:6-8). God’s Holy Spirit prompted me to take urgent action. I needed to be humble and to love mercy.
Over the next few days, via letters, calls, and visits, I reached out to people. Three weeks later, one of those I talked and reconciled with, my dad, died.
On the Voice and America’s Got Talent, two contest shows I enjoy, the performance of a rockin’ song will often produce from a judge, “You took me to church!”
Oh, but church is not a beat, an emotional high, or entertainment. For someone who has never been to church, like Howie Mandel, a judge on AGT, it must seem so trivial.
Church is where we meet with like-minded followers of Jesus, imperfect people who trust that walking close to God is to have present and eternal hope. Church is where we pray and worship in truth. Church is one of the places we can hear God leading us with grace.
Church is profound. We have not been there unless we have met with God.
Today’s Helpful Word
Ephesians 4: 2-4
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body (Church) and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
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