Friday, July 8, 2016

The Purpose of Church

We walked down the back alley to the church balancing a topped-off bowl of cucumber salad, our bag of paper goods, our Bibles wedged between paper plates, and an unruly stack of napkins. Heat blistered up from the street and radiated down from a cloudless sky. As we passed the pink trailer parked in a neighbor’s back yard, I remembered how pretty it had looked back in February, when it seemed to be the only bright spot of color in a world that defaulted to gray.

So much can happen in a year.

Given just a bit of perspective — the snow melting into spring, the tiny buds leafing straight up into a hot summer sky — the old pain wrapped in triumph is enough to catch our breath.

This alley owns a portion of my heart now. It’s a strange extension of our home, its lines and dips now grafted into my long-term memory. It’s part of what I’ll grab years from now when I want to remember this particular life season, with young kids who aren’t too young, our long days and short years, and the brick building at the end of the alley where God patiently waited for us, near us, with us, as we wrestled against His goodness arriving, at times, in the most inconvenient ways.

Six years ago I wondered if church really mattered, “showing up doesn’t make someone a Christian,” and all of that. I asked Abba the hard questions, awaiting vindication, very sure He’d let me clean off the hook. He looked me square in the eyes and with so much kindness, began to answer. He still hasn’t stopped to take a breath...

Click here to continue reading at (in)courage...