I cried in church again last week.
This happens often.
It wasn’t the sermon or the prayers or the music. It rarely is.
It was the people.
Yeah, I know the church can be a dangerous place, a wounding place, a shaming place. And it has been that, at times, in my life.
But also, at its best, the church is a place where the broken gather to be made whole again. A place where we pick each other up, and forgive each other, and point each other back towards Jesus.
And so, last week I cried in church. For the church at her best. For the people in my faith community who pick each other up and point each other back.
It was the person who has been angry and critical, and wrote a mean email, walking forward with me to receive communion. Together we were lifted up and turned around.
It was looking across the sanctuary and seeing the high powered executive who gave it all up to head a non-profit and help pick up the down and out in our city.
It was the bitter woman whose husband left her, and the person with the brain tumor both bravely coming back to Jesus and His community. Just showing up all vulnerable and needy and having folks enfold them with hugs and prayers.
It was seeing the man out of work, again, and the one with a job, reaching to help lift him up.
It was the toddler in the Great Room after the service who toddled the wrong way – separated from her parents but lifted and turned around – returned by a “stranger” who was really family just because we’re in this together.
The lifting, the encouraging, the helping to go in the right direction – this is a picture of the church at her best.
And then later I saw this and I thought how similar it is to what moved me to tears at church.
Today I pray each of you reading this has a faith community where you can see the goodness of God – a place where He uses all of us to help lift each other, and gently turn us around, like a mama caring for her toddler.