We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2.13)
I was reminded this morning just how true these words ring in my heart. A little over a year ago I received an unexpected gift in the mail. The envelope was of no great significance, the post mark unknown, and yet to the tips of my toes it was somehow an answer to prayer.
I sat at the end of the driveway and slowly opened the envelope. Inside was a whole lot of paper. I dumped it all into my lap and in the midst of it was a red photo album that included pictures of this beautiful stone church and the people that called it home. I held it with reverence and prayed that God lead me there.
A little more than a year later I too call this place home. Today I was reminded what a gift it has been. Now this little stone church is by no means perfect and comes with its own warts, foibles, and problems yet today I saw again the beauty of this place.
It came in the gift of a dear friend engaging in a gravity defying move that resulted in an 87 year old body (with two knee replacements) hanging a mirror left in a pew after the repainting. That same body reminding me that quitting was not an option until the job was finished.
It came in the love that made sure the table was set for ALL that came to be fed.
It came in the stepping out of a comfort zone to share the story of how this place became home and of a Savior found in and through its people.
It came in the timeless prayers being said by loved ones, some with reverence, some with small voices, some with exuberance, and all with love.
It came in the willingness to move from quiet behind the scenes ministry to serving at the altar in spite of fear.
It came in a study that moved beyond history to our story and to a place of depth where it was safe to raise questions even great theologians struggle with.
It came in the laughter and giggles of little feet running almost faster than they could carry small bodies to a room where they knew they would be met with delight and love.
It came in the last minute yes to serve.
It came in the desire to make a celebration perfect by using a long lost platter as an altar of love and remembrance.
It came in the smiles and tears of encouragement as we remembered the practical things that are needed to make sure others know this place of haven.
It came in the big things, the small things, and likely in many unseen things.
It came when I needed the reminder that while this is home for me now, it has been home to many in years past and will become home to many in years to come.
It came when I needed to see again that this is not my church, but Christ’s church in which I have the honor of meeting my brothers and sisters as we pray, laugh, share, complain, play, work, and dream.
It came because of all the saints before us and all those to come.
It came because in spite of us all, God is at work in this place.
It came because God is God and for that I give thanks.