We have been doing our house church for over 17 years now and after all this time our family has a rhythm on Sunday mornings. I wake up and pray and then head into the kitchen to start cooking and baking for our church lunch. We never know exactly what each week will bring for numbers. Some weeks we have a small group of eight or nine and other weeks we have twenty or more, but I have come to trust that we will always have enough for everyone and we always do. Chris wakes up and begins to pray and put the finishing touches on his teaching for the day and then he heads out to drive around the city, picking up the kids who have asked to come to church that day. Javan and Ezra sleep in a little, but then get up to clean the bathroom, shovel the walks and set up the chairs for our gathering.
As we all do our various chores to prepare for church, I am also praying for those who will come and what the day will bring. The thing about house church is that no one remains anonymous for long. So, as the hour approaches I think about the hearts and souls that will be arriving and I know the burdens they carry…health issues, strained family relationships, struggles to make ends meet, deep grief over family members who were murdered, struggles with school or friends, abandonment, loneliness…When I think of the needs and hurts of those who come, I know I am inadequate to help. But I pray each week, that God would help me to provide what I am able to provide—a welcoming presence that says,” we are glad to see you, you belong here, we love you.” I pray also that each and every one would meet God here in our little church as we sing and pray and read God’s word. As we listen and learn and talk and laugh. As we eat and tell stories from our week and play games and sit around together. I know that Chris and I are inadequate to meet the needs of those who come, but I trust and believe that God is able to meet their needs and is able to be everything that they need. Every week I pray that God would help our people to grow in grace and knowledge of God and in the power to love God and each other.
Some days, I am tired and wish I didn’t have to get up and cook. Some days, I am discouraged and feel like I don’t have any love or grace to spare and it’s easy to let somebody’s behavior or attitude lead me toward annoyance before love. But, day after day, week after week, year after year, church goes on and God’s grace carries me and all the rest of our church family as well. And lots of days, I actually know that I am among the most blessed of persons because I get to be part of it all. Isn’t that really what all of us wish for: to be part of God’s community and work in the world, loving God and our fellows?
I hope that all of you are also enjoying your part in God’s community and the love you are part of there. We are ever grateful for the support and encouragement of the body of Christ who keeps us able to love and serve here in south Minneapolis.