I, originally, had intended an entirely different article; but in truth, I was so moved by Pastor Phil’s message in the last newsletter that I felt compelled to offer a follow up piece along the same lines. I wanted to echo the theme of the great importance of being together in worship – each with our own traits, talents, gifts and challenges gathering as the body of Christ.

As Gregg Louis Taylor writes: “we need to view the church not as a place or product, but as people. We need to look at the church not as something; but as someone; more accurately as a kaleidoscopic collection of someones on their way to becoming a community that embodies the reality that the glory of God is human beings fully alive.”

We are not the people of perfect ways, but people with family problems, marital difficulties, money issues, health concerns, traumatic concerns and addictions. We struggle with our own demon, search to find at times a glimmer of light in our dark places and need companions to help mend our wounds and sit with us in the dark. We have doubts, fears and trust issues that may at times drive us to our knees. But we have faith, we have hope in the knowledge and love of Christ and we have each other to worship with and express that faith. And, we are called to invite others to join us.

So, with the poet Kamand Kojuri, we keep saying, and all who seek this way of being church continue to say with us:

Come friends, come with your grief
Come with your loss
Carry all the pieces of your heart, and come sit with us.
Bring your disappointments and your failures.
Bring your betrayals and your masks.
We welcome you no matter where you came from, and what you bring.
Come and join us at the intersection of acceptance and forgiveness, where you will find our house of love.
Bring your empty cups, and we will have a feast.

This is what the church is; and this is what we are to be.

Thanks be to God.

Milt Fredericks Lay Pastor of Congregational Care