I like to think of church as the place where life comes together. It’s the place where God’s truth and our lives meet, the place where Christ’s gracious Spirit meets us where we are. We make our starts in the church-babies are baptized into the life of the church family and couples are married here. And, of course, we mark the close of lives, gathering in the shadow of death to mourn, to celebrate a life and to claim the promise of the resurrection. It all comes together in this place.
Life comes together in the church. Do you have an honest question, a genuine struggle? Don’t hide it at home. Bring it with you to church. You will find the sanctuary is filled with questions and with people trying honestly to get their lives together. When we gather in church, we seek answers, wholeness and purpose. Amid all the harried pressures of our world, we come together in the church to find the God that is the source of all that is, the mercy and love that can hold life together and make of our days a great work of beauty.
Life comes together in the church. People from diverse backgrounds come together here. Our differences become gifts to be shared and celebrated. Look at all the faces; listen to the accents; ponder all the stages of life represented in the church. In the Holy Spirit the differences become a tapestry; the many individuals become one Body; the many lives come together in one Kingdom with one purpose.
Life comes together in the church. Consider the many talents and abilities that gather here every week. A marvelous symphony is performed every time we sing together, every time we serve together, every time we all come together to share what we have.
Life comes together in the church. We come with our struggles, with the realities of our lives. There is no need to pretend life is unending bliss or that life is easy. The need for help and the need to help come together in the church. There are truths to be found in ancient texts and in new ideas. In the midst of all the question marks, there are some wonderful exclamation points, as well. There is grace! There is Christ! There is a place where all people are valued! There is a purpose for life! There is love!
Let’s bring it all to this place-all that we have and are, all that we believe and doubt, all that we celebrate and regret-and place it at the altar. When all of that stuff is mixed together and the Holy Spirit goes to work, amazing things happen. Lives and life come together.
Rev. Mark Westmoreland