A tale of two churches (or three)

Today is Father's Day, and, somewhat predictably, the sermon was about fathers.  Now I have been really impressed by Eddie's preaching: he really has a gift for it.  Today's father's day sermon was a masterpiece that moved me.  The scripture was from Mark 5:21-43:  the story of two daughters in desperate trouble.  The story of Jairus, his daughter (12 years old), and the woman with the medical trouble (for 12 years — !) took on a new meaning for me.  The stories are familiar, except the new twist to me was that, just as Jesus's hands healed a dead girl and a woman, we are the hands of Christ now — the church.  The sermon closed in an especially moving way as Eddie read a heartfelt letter from a daughter to her dad.  The part that I didn't see coming was that the story of the girl and her very bad decisions growing up would turn out to be someone I know at church!!  The focus of the letter was on the dad who loved her and continually prayed for her from her childhood to her "prodigal" moment of realization and beyond.  This man was someone I know and respect greatly.  The whole story really showed me (yet again!) that God is alive and works through Jesus's hands still.  It is amazing that lives can change — perhaps not in an instant, but in a moment of instant change after years of waiting.  It was a great day at our church.

From this story of triumph, I turn to quite a different story of two other churches.  I learned yesterday of a friend whose home church has split.  It was a familiar tale of unfolding differences, primarily over elders and their choices.  And, of course, the issues of youth and worship style figured in someway.  It is truly sad to hear such a story.  Jesus said in John 13:34-35 that all men (and women!) would know that we are his disciples by our love for each other.  This love was attempted in part over the past two years or so at the church prior to the split.  The irony of it is that the 20 percent or so who did most of the work were the ones who left to form a new church.  Now Romans 8:28 says, not that everything IS good, but that God works for the good of those who love Him.  I believe that, in spite of how bad it looks or may continue to look for a while, that in the end God can bring good out of this.  My friend is determined to stick it out because he believes it is in the best interest of his church: it will need stability in the coming days.  I agree.

So, God is at work — still today, and in ways that we cannot anticipate.  In the life of a vibrant, godly sister who was redeemed, and in the midst of strife in His community of believers.  May we open our eyes to see more of God's work in our lives.

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Published in: on June 19, 2006 at 3:46 am  Leave a Comment  

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