I’ve missed “church” for a couple of weeks. And I had slightly missed feelings about showing up. Two weeks ago our plans for church were scratched by a sudden, searing pain in my hip.
I confessed it to Molly at our rising from bed, saying I would somehow limp along. “Nothing doing” was her response. “Everyone has said: Call 911. Get examined. Don’t take chances.” It hurt enough, so I obeyed.
A friendly policeman came. Then the ambulance. They rolled out of Covenant Living and off to Methodist Hospital. When you come in on a stretcher, Emergency Room leaps to action. Everyone helped. A doctor came. Soon I was sent off to X-ray. Before long the doctor returned to my bedside. “Good news,” he said. “Nothing’s broken. We think it’s an attack of bursitis. We’ll send you home with pain pills and exercises.”
So, we spent Sunday with Joel Osteen and Wooddale Church on TV. The doctors were right. Over days the pain subsided.
The next Sunday our Pilgrim Center president, Jim Olson, was to preach at Zion Baptist on the north side. He is full of the Spirit and shows it when he preaches. He dips and dives in the great black tradition.
We moved with the rhythms of the morning and shared in the exhilaration of that remarkable Christian company.
So today was back to our own church, the church we love, with the name we cherish – while she still has it.
I leaned on my staff – a gift from the Cheyenne River reservation, held Molly’s hand, and made it to our “reconciliation corner.” It was good to be back. It felt like home. Wonderful, tried and true familiar faces were there. They turned. My great young Africa traveling companion came in, escorting his mother, whom he’d picked up at The Waters. He smiled and waved as he moved into his pew. He was welcoming us home. I was with “the beloved community.” The community of those 32 years, and the 25 Africa years that followed.
Then, across the aisle another old standby leaned around from his almost reserved pew, and grinned and waved. We were doubly home.
Then, at the passing of the Peace, he came across the aisle to give his welcome. “In the Jewish tradition,” he said, “the synagogue saves a seat for Elijah. Last week it was empty. But now, you’re back. All’s right when you and Molly are in your place.” While it may have been over doing it, the company of love was saying like the Youth Group’s song, “there’s a place in the world for a Christian.”
The church – home for the heart. The lovers of Jesus saying, “Welcome home. You’re where you need to be.”
It is where all of us as “the church” need to be – together. Praying. Singing. Learning. Listening – for the Words of God. Being prepared for mission in the world. Encouraging others just by your being there. An amazing phenomenon. There’s “a place” for you, and me. When we can stand and show we love Jesus. The sinless Savior, who gave His life on the cross to make possible the forgiveness of our sins. All of them.
It is a Divine dynamic. It is the way given for us to live – in hope. And our smiles in church, and our waves to each other, assure us that we are in the right place – with Jesus and His people.
Love you. In Him.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES