It’s a foggy and overcast Monday here in the Midwest. Yesterday was an absolutely perfect fall day and Saturday was a super-soaker.
It was raining when we woke up and I don’t think it stopped the entire day.
I worked downtown and listened to it hitting the back door and watched it splatter on the sidewalk out front and conversed with customers about how miserably wet and cold it was from 10-4.
Russ was up north since Zach was working as well on Saturday.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend services Sunday morning due to travel so the plan was that I would go the 5:00 on my way home and we would meet up after that to eat leftovers together.
Thankfully the typical gale force winds did not accompany this day of showers and so I was able to use my umbrella to get safely to the truck two blocks away.
But as I unloaded my bag in the back and climbed up in the front seat, I felt the chill of dampness down in my bones. I turned on the wipers and engine and turned the heat up high as I navigated away from downtown.
Every ounce of me wanted to just head right on past the puddled parking lot as people were making their way into our church.
I was alone…it was dark and soggy…and I had worked all day.
Besides, we have a live feed of the service now and I could just sit in the comfort and warmth of our home and watch that while I waited for Russ.
But I felt drawn to go to real live church and so I told my flesh to hush and I pulled into a space. Before I could change my mind, I grabbed my dripping umbrella and headed in.
Not seeing anyone I knew, I took a seat by myself down front but then I saw someone across the way I have been trying to track down.
I went over and chatted with him. One of the couples I know well were sitting in a pew right in front of that conversation. They spoke and the husband greeted me and as he shook my hand, he slipped me two little Hershey’s Pot-of-Gold bars.
They laughed at my surprise.
I went back over to my lone seat just as another friend and her husband came down the aisle. I asked if they had room and moved my stuff to sit by her.
I don’t get to see this friend as much these days and my heart filled to the brim to be able to just stand shoulder to shoulder with her and sing words of praise to our God.
We know quite a bit of each other’s stories. We know the deep cries of each other’s hearts and we also know some of the incredibly amazing ways God has done the impossible.
Behind me was another family of friends. They were celebrating their son’s birthday, just as we were celebrating Joely’s fourth on the same day.
Again, my heart was filled with gratitude for the lives and ways God has worked in that friendship. The way He weaves our stories together.
And I would have missed it if I had just driven on and tuned in on my computer while I sipped a hot tea.
I am thankful for the technology our church has been able to acquire so that when we are sick or traveling we can “attend” church.
Last Sunday Russ and I listened to the service as we got ready in a hotel in Austin.
But an online church will never take the place of the living Church – the Body of Christ.
Made up an odd mix of people?
Imperfect men and women and children, seeking to know and serve our Perfect God.
Being perfected and transformed more and more into the image of His Son.
This is the Body of Christ.
And it is too beautiful to miss for any reason <3