The Ragtag Church

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I walk in tonight tired. My roommate and I slide into one of the back rows. A friend sees us and moves back to join us. Others trickle in. A guy with a guitar sits up front. We watch and wait. Quiet conversation murmurs. After a few minutes, the guy with the guitar begins to play and sing. We join him. Some read Scriptures between songs; others pray. We sit or stand in worship. We huddle together in the basement of a dorm and sing.

We are–as I recently described us in a letter to a friend–the ragtag church of the weary Sunday night worshipers. We come from the various dorms to this one room. We sit at different tables in the dining hall. We have different classes. We are so very different from one another. Yet here we come together; we hold each other up; we enter the throne room of God Almighty.

We’re an odd mix of students at a tiny Christian college in a sweet small town. We’re bogged down with papers to write, tests to prepare for, people to talk to, and lives to live. Many, if not all of us, work part-time on campus or nearby. Demands assault us from every direction–professors, parents, friends, enemies, coworkers, and bosses. Yet here we come together, scattered in one room, singing one song.

This dorm basement is a place of beauty and of refuge. The Ragtag Church finds its way there every Sunday night. Some regulars are missing; some faces are new. Nevertheless, we come to the throne of God and worship.

After singing, we split into groups and pray. Lately my group has been the same 4 women–3 friends and myself–who always stay. We share are triumphs and struggles. Tonight we share our fears. Then we pray. We pray for each other. We laugh together. We ask our Father for His protection and guidance and love.

At long last, we begin to leave. We linger, tiptoeing out slowly. As we meander up the sidewalk to our goodbyes, we laugh and revel in the community. Then we must say goodbye, return to our dorms, and continue our lives as the Ragtag Church of Sunday night worshipers.

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