I recently read this devotional by writer Marion Bond West in GUIDEPOST:
“There are only about thirty-five of us in our little congregation. We’re more like a family than a church. We used to be larger. I sometimes wonder what visitors think when they stop by.
One early spring morning a new couple came in our service. Newcomers are easy to spot. Before the sermon, Pastor Tom asks us to share anything we’d like –what God has done for us that week or what we might need prayer for.
One of the recovering addicts stood to say in a broken voice that he’d gotten a job. Finally, he was clean. Applause. Another shared what life had been like in prison and then when he became homeless, but now things were good. More applause.
The visiting young man stood. He spoke openly about deep family problems with no answers or hope. His wife looked down. That he sobbed didn’t keep him from saying what he needed to get out. We didn’t mean to come to this church, but we got lost and time was running out. Before he could sit down, most of us rushed to embrace him. Her too, he practically fell into our arms.
During the alter prayer, they came quickly, hand in hand, and stood in line. They were family now. After church, many of us stayed to visit with them, exchange telephone numbers, and bask in God’s sweet, sweet Spirit, which lingered. We’ll be back next week, they said in unison. We love your church.”
This is a great story about what church is all about: forgiveness, restoration and becoming a part of God’s family. This church was making a difference. Let’s make sure ours is too.