Oh how good it is
When the family of God
Dwells together in spirit
In faith and unity.
Where the bonds of peace,
Of acceptance and love
Are the fruit of His presence
Here among us.
So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord
And with one heart we’ll live out His word
Till the whole earth sees
The Redeemer has come
For He dwells in the presence of His people.
We sing these words as the Benediction song at our church. Every. Single. Sunday. And I love it. My voice catches in my throat every time, and many Sundays it brings tears to my eyes, and more than a few times it has caused me to completely lose it.
We sang these words for the first time in our Church’s new building last night, and it was sweet. And my voice caught in my throat, and tears came to my eyes.
In almost 20 years of marriage, Jonathan and I have been members of 5 different churches. Five. We have not moved to a different city once. Now, let me be clear. I am not knocking the other churches we’ve been members of, we felt like we were where the Lord wanted us every time. Every one of the churches we have belonged to were wonderful, Bible believing churches, with beautiful Christian brothers and sisters. Some of my closest friends and favorite people are members of those churches. But they never felt like home to me. This is a classic case of it’s not you it’s me. I have never let down my guard enough at church before to be known and loved or to know and love well. My not belonging, or not feeling like I belonged was all on me.
When we landed at Grace Presbyterian Church close to 2 years ago, broken hearted and hurting, it felt like home from the very first Sunday. I tried to hold it together through most of that first Sunday, I didn’t do a very good job, but when we sang those words as the Benediction song. I lost it. And I stopped trying to hold it back. People we knew and people we didn’t really know cared for and loved us that day. Really, I feel like since then, the walls have been down and I don’t ever want them to go back up. I have been loved well, my family has been loved well, and we for the first time have invested ourselves and made the effort to know and be known, to love and be loved. I believe that has been the difference. Our willingness to be open, and vulnerable, and real, and get in the lives of our church family.
Now, again, to be clear, I know that our church is not the perfect church. It is full of sinners with hang ups and quirks and annoying habits and different personalities. We don’t all love each other or Jesus perfectly or even close to perfectly. But I believe we genuinely want to grow in our love for Jesus, our love for each other, and the community around us. And that gives me joy and hope. (Again, I’m not saying this isn’t true for other churches we’ve been members of)
At the hymn and prayer service last night, one of our friends prayed something that I hope our church will always remember. He prayed: “Lord, help us to never love this church building more than we love the people inside this church building and the people outside of this church building.” Amen and Amen
We are set to have our first Sunday Worship Service in our new building this Sunday! I am so excited about and thankful for what the Lord is doing in the life of Grace Presbyterian Church. But, I know it isn’t really about the church building. It’s about the church body. Christ’s Body. I am praying, for my church and for your churches, that the Lord will continue to work in our hearts to love Him more, to love each other well, and to share the love of Jesus with those who don’t know Him. That He would cause us to dwell together in spirit and in faith and in unity, bonded by peace and acceptance and love, these are the fruits of Christ’s presence among us. That we would sing to the Lord and live out His Word, so that those around us would see that the Redeemer has come…Because He dwells with His people. And Oh! How good it is.
If you are in the area and would like to visit us this Sunday May 21st for our first Service in the new building or any following Sunday, we are located at 445 Spears Creek Church Road. Our Worship starts at 10am. You can check out our website here . Hope to see you there!