I’ve been really blessed over the past couple of weeks to have had the opportunity to go visit churches all over the country without ever leaving my house. I’ve long had a dream of traveling all over the US and stopping to visit churches, stopping to celebrate all the diversity and yet the points of unity, of familiarity. I happen to just delight in hanging out with the charismatics and than slipping over to be with the Baptists, from the Methodists to the Reformed, the contemporary and the traditionalists, those worshipping with contemporary love songs and those using hymnals, love songs of another kind.
From one communal cup to tiny plastic ones, from grape juice to wine, from torn bread to cracker bits, from wafers to pods……I am laughing here, but the diversity within communion is deeply profound and yet totally insignificant, when it is done in remembrance of Him. We aren’t just sharing with one another, we’re sharing with all those who went before us, all over the world, all across centuries, all connected to Him, to Jesus.
I actually haven’t been a formal member of a church in some 20 years, mostly because at some point on this journey, I just became a member of “the church,” of His church. It’s hard to explain. I do have my preferences, my favorites, and even a few hills I’m willing to die on, but for the most part I really just live in Philippians 1:18, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
There can be a lot of tribalism within the church, a lot of divisions, but for me what I find so beautiful is the core essence that runs through it all, the foundational truths, the sheer delight that comes when I spot the Lord there, when His familiar presence is revealed to me.
This is so NOT how I wanted to take that visitation journey, but I do take note of how God has answered a prayer, how He works for good all things, how His plans for me haven’t changed at all. There’s some good nuggets of wisdom to be found in all those churches, some inspiration, some spiritual growth, some fellowship, the strength and beauty of His church revealed in all her glorious diversity, culture, and style.
Family however, well they just can’t be replaced. Those you love, those you are cheering for, those you live in close proximity to, they matter, there are no substitutes, and separation from them is just painful. I am really missing my own family all quarantined from me for different reasons, and I am really missing my church family, too.