It is late in the afternoon of June’s last Sunday. Seven weeks or more away from the church I love- that company of the dear people that God gave me to know deeply and love as spiritual family.
I miss the regulars in our corner of the Meeting House. The pals who save me a seat in our “reconciliation corner.” Brother Rod across the aisle; Mary Ann, one row up on that side. Her friend from the north side for whom she saves a seat. The wise dermatological doctor whose unerring insight saved my life 20 years ago. The tall Dale who sits alone but faithfully cares for his wife who has lived long with Alzheimer’s. Near him is the doctor couple who keep an eye on him. Then there’s the ever-watchful Jeff who patrols the aisle and greets us with cheery welcome and encouraging word as we find our places.
And, flowing out, so many others, row upon row, who are there for each other, but for more, for Jesus who is “the draw” that brings all of us to the table.
Molly looks at it all and says, “It’s the pew ministry.” Quiet and unassuming, but from the heart, lives crisscross back and forth across the aisle, from Allen across to Dick on our side. Back and forth, woven together by love. What the church should be, but now, for these many weeks, could not be. Will the separation never end?
God knows, and I, and so many friends, must patiently, faithfully wait – and be ready when it comes.
Younger people, who understand high-tech connections, are watching Colonial’s services online. In the meantime, Molly and I are glad for Joel Osteen on regular TV. And for Sunday Vespers on Covenant Living’s in-house channel.
And, I write letters, and blogs, and try to stay in touch in my own “ancient” way.
It is clear to me, as I watch and wait, that Christ, the Holy Spirit, comes in a variety of ways, unseen but real, bringing Jesus and the Father into my life directly and lovingly.
Jesus made a promise long ago, that “where two or three gather together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” If they gather faithfully and expectantly, I will come. They will find Me present as they listen to the words of others, they will hear Me calling to them. And they will know Jesus. That is what the regular monthly “church meeting” in the Congregational tradition is about: Jesus coming to His gathered people, and through their voices, speaking His Word to them of what His plan is for them as a church company. The sign of His presence is the fact that He leads them from many different views to one view, so that they can say afterward, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us.” The gathered people are His body in that place and His purpose is to lead them into being of “one mind and heart.”
Unanimity, not just a majority vote.
It is an exciting, disciplined way to do business, and to come together. Then, the church is able to move, to take action, under the Spirit’s guidance, and wonderful things get done.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES