God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. … Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple, built by God, all of us build into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. Ephesians 2:19-22 The Message

 

I walked into church yesterday feeling a little low, depressed, anxious. My smile was in place…but inside, I wasn’t nearly as happy as I looked.

It had been that kind of week.

On Tuesday, my sinus/asthma condition flared, requiring yet another round of doctoring. When we discovered some major food allergies a month ago, we’d hoped changing my diet would be the all-encompassing health solution we’ve been looking for. Obviously not.

Thursday, I heard another friend died. I’ll miss his laughter; the wicked twinkle in his eye. Again, I don’t grieve him; I know he’s well and happy. But every death leaves my life a little lonelier, my world a little darker.

Then, what one writer calls “the never-ending news feed” made me want to scream, shut my ears and run to a desert island somewhere.

Finally, we woke up Sunday morning to skies as dark and heavy as my mood. Snow in the air.

No major problems, really, but just enough to take the edge off my faith, my joy, my optimism. Honestly, I didn’t expect much when we went to church, but that’s when God seems to do His best work.

It happened at the communion rail.

There we stood, all kinds of people with different backgrounds, abilities, needs, ages—from twitchy little kids to us elder folk with our slow steps. Many carried burdens far greater than mine.

The worship team struck up “Amazing Grace” and, without prompting, the whole congregation softly joined in. Suddenly I was reminded what we all had in common: that God had rescued us all and put us together here to be shelter and comfort for each other. This was my church family. I belonged here. They cared about me as I did about them. God was here, among and with us.

My eyes filled. I could feel my heavy heart lift, my hope raise and my faith finding its feet. Somehow, we could make it through all the problems and trials of life, large and small.

Together.

I came away comforted.

Now I well know the church is not a collection of marble saints, but of very human beings subject to the faults and foibles of all people, all families. Over the years, the church has failed repeatedly, has not lived up to its calling to be the body of Christ. I’ve lived through some of that failure myself…and been part of it.

But when it works as Paul describes it here, when all the stones fit together to be a temple, when we laugh and cry and comfort and support each other, the church is a beautiful thing, a place and a people fit to be the home of God. And I’ve seen that, too.

This morning, I thank Him for my church. I wouldn’t want to do faith—or life—without it.