Sometime in early November, I switched churches. I returned to a church that I visited my freshman year of college. Now my roommate and I attend there, along with many of our peers in the literature major, every Sunday at 10 AM. We drive out to a school building and huddle in the auditorium with our church.
The little church with its passionate worship and honest sermons. Where the little kids squirm through worship before bounding off to Sunday school. Where the babies coo or cry, safely wrapped in Daddy’s arms while Mommy smiles at the scene. Where the big sister tries to act just like Mommy, fussing over her baby doll and raising her hands in worships.
The little church with its realistic outlook. They’ve been through a lot since right before I came to college, and this small body is shaken. But our God is strong, and the people around me know that to be true. They don’t shy away from the pain and pretend it doesn’t exist. Instead, these radically honest people pick up the pieces of shattered hearts and carry their friends to Jesus.
The little church with its radical commitment to being the Body of Christ. Even when the heater doesn’t seem to be warming up the auditorium. Or when everyone’s so tired that the pastor isn’t sure we’re hearing him speak. Or when somebody’s new and lonely and a little afraid of what this church thing will mean for them.
This is my church. And while we have our faults–after all, we’re still human–this little community of believers reminds me of what I’ve been painstakingly translating from Greek this past week. Luke writes in his account of the early church: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). That’s what my little church in the public school auditorium does. We read the Scriptures and, though we don’t have the apostles to stand on stage and preach directly to us, we study their words under the instruction of men who have studied the Bible diligently, men who continue to study and grow and lead us. We sing and talk and laugh together. We share in communion every week, and–what’s more–we have bagels and donuts and fruit every week after church. And I haven’t even mentioned the church meals they host periodically. And we pray together. Sometimes we split into small groups and pray. Every week we pray as a whole congregation–multiple times in our service. Often I see someone off to the side before or after service, praying with another person from our little congregation.
We may not be large or perfect or even typical. But we are a little cluster of the Church, sharing in life together and bearing each others’ burdens. And that’s pretty cool.