Up until several years ago, this was normally the time I would be wrapping up my summer visit to St. Louis before returning to Houston to pack for my mission trips to Honduras. With the passing of my parents, I found I've also missed being with their congregation who were so good to Mom and Dad. The following is from July 2, 2006 and tells about a moving worship experience in St. Louis.
Today was the first of four consecutive Sundays that will find me worshipping in four different congregations in three different states and one foreign country. This morning, I worshipped with my folks' church in St. Louis. Next Sunday, I will praise the Lord in Wichita with my brothers, Dave and Scott. In two weeks, I will assemble with saints in Choluteca, Honduras. Twenty-one days from now, I will be back with my congregation in Houston, gathering with my fellow English speakers and then preaching for our Chinese brethren immediately afterwards. That's about 4,000 miles of distance in four weeks. I bet Paul didn't cover that much ground in just a month.
This morning was tough. Mom was not in good enough shape to make it to services so she stayed with a friend. My folks are members of the Lafayette church of Christ and this body of believers is going through difficulties. One of their eighteen year old young men is undergoing treatment for liver disease. The mother of a member was buried on Friday. Right before communion, it was announced that a dear nephew to a wonderful Christian sister was killed last night in an automobile accident. You could feel the groans reverberate throughout the auditorium as the news was made public. In spite of all that, I was uplifted as we praised our maker. The love shown to God was reflected in the love displayed to each other. So much support was given to Dad and me as the truth of Mom's deterioration from Alzheimer's becomes more and more evident to all. The parents of the eighteen year old were showered with love and affection by fellow Christians who try to absorb pain and transfuse hope simultaneously with hugs. I also witnessed one of the finest acts of reaching out that I have ever seen. Wade Gillespie, Lafayette's evangelist, held up his cell phone to the congregation with the grieving aunt on the other end of the line. The church in unison loudly, and with overflowing love, recited The Blessing Of Aaron from Numbers 6:24-26 to their heartbroken sister-in-Christ:
"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."
My guess is there were tears shed on both sides of the connection. Isn't that what comforting and bearing each other's burdens is all about? When so many have dysfunctional biological families, isn't it marvelous to see a completely functioning spiritual body? We need both kinds of relatives, those linking us by our kinfolks' DNA and the ones we are joined to by the blood of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Today, I was with both sides of my family.
Applicable quote of the day:
"To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org