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Jesus at Church

At home before service I was sitting on the couch reading, and suddenly felt God telling me to close the book and pray along with the pre-service prayer group at the church. I felt called to pray for unity, peace, moving of the Spirit among the people in the prayer group… and at the service too.

When we got to church, we put our coats, Bibles, etc. on the chairs, then got some coffee and went back to our seats… but I did not feel like staying there even though the music had started. So I went to the back, and sat on a step and just watched. And it seemed to me that church was really BEING CHURCH at the back door as people came in, and Bonnie was greeting them with the wonderful gift God has given her to do that… and then there was Rena wandering around doing her smiley, huggy, happy, welcoming people thing, her gift from God… and there was this tiny little native girl who wandered right up to me and just stared at me with her big serious beautiful dark eyes and I just felt love pour out… and some of the pre-teen girls were in the corner happily giggling together… and a couple men were just enthusiastically chatting about something, quite loudly (one of them your Dave!)… and when I had first come in I had seen one of the other men turn his chair right around, and hold the hands of the sad-looking man behind him and pray for him… and yes, a few people were standing in their rows facing the front, and a few of them were singing along to the music, and others were just kind of listening, or maybe even praying or just worshiping, and some maybe standing there wrapped in some sorrow or pain… and there were little ones running about happily smiling, and folks were smiling back at them… and yet hardly anyone was looking even slightly annoyed by all the goings-on, and that seemed so neat to me, and so different than so much of the “church” I have known in my life…

And suddenly it seemed to me like I was sitting in a quiet place, alone, kind of separated from what was going on around me yet able to see it like kind of a distance away… kind of like sitting on a beach on a hot quiet summer day without a breath of wind, like the world was holding its breath… and then a gentle breeze starting to arise from nowhere, and the leaves on the trees starting to rustle, with the sound of a little dancing babbling brook, and the air becoming light and fresh, and the world growing joyful and expectant, like all of creation was sharing in some joyful little moment…

And as I looked about the church – God’s people – I felt I could see Jesus walking gently about, and he was looking at the children playing, and the happy greetings, and the friendly chatter, and at those singing, and at those just standing quietly; looking at all the things that some people so often think should not be happening in a church service… and He was smiling and happy, moving among them, reaching out and touching the children’s heads, stopping to list and watch and smile, moving about, mingling in the midst of his church, his people, the children of Father. And he was pleased with them! Because they were being his church and he was among them and in them, and they were living his life with His Spirit there among them and in them. It was so beautiful.

It had nothing to do with the building, or the program, or anything that people can do. It was just Jesus and his people, abiding in the love of God, in relationship with him and with each other.

Yes, there were some kind of dark places, mostly up closer to the front… it seemed kind of far off and I don’t know, kind of lonely… But Jesus was like in the middle of His people and facing them, looking at people’s faces, reaching out and lightly touching them, moving among them… the music was like kind of far off in the background and didn’t seem too important, but every now and then there would be a swelling in it and a lifting of joy and I couldn’t help but join in for a line or two… yet it was also so neat that the music wasn’t at the center at all, Jesus was at the center, in the center of the room, not up front, and he was moving about with his hands kind of gently reaching out… the “service” seemed to kind of fade away, and for a few moments it was just Jesus and his family having some happy family time together, love just gently floating through and among his family, his church, his body, his people…

Norma Hill

Date Feb 10, 2008

My name is Norma. I'm married to Lionel. We have 5 kids - Taryn, Sarah, Robyn, Wendy and Peter, and one grandchild, Tony. At the moment, I am teaching French and Home Economics at a Christian School. I also enjoy writing, reading, facilitating Christian study groups, exercise, gardening, playing guitar, and a multitude of other interests.

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