“Everybody has their thing,” my pastor said during our staff meeting one particular Tuesday as we were going over prayer requests that had been turned in the previous Sunday. A look around the table, I knew we, the staff of our church, were each carrying our own concerns as we met to lift up the burdens of others. We read off each request – failing health, unsaved family members, divorce, job changes – so many heavy weights, each a jumbotron scrolling the same headline: This is not how it’s supposed to be!
Eternity in our hearts
I think that’s part of what it means for eternity to be written on our hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) We wrestle with the here and now. And oh, how we wrestle. This is partly why we MUST gather. When all of those “things” enter the same room, a beautiful mosaic of brokenness begins to form patterns that speak of the immeasurable grace of God and miracles take place:
We have more in common than flesh and bone. We are sinners in desperate need of forgiveness. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Those who have been liberated from the penalty of sin still bear their scars and battle with the consequence of living in a fallen world – what a platform to speak of His unending mercy! We are each broken in need of a sovereign Healer to put us back together, which He WILL do either this side of Heaven or when we see Him face to face.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that is far beyond comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
We Carry Each Other.
Much like the friends of the crippled man who let him down through the roof so He could see Jesus. It brings me so much joy to look around the room either before or after service and see spontaneous huddles of broken people praying for each other. One wounded soldier carrying another.
“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, because I know that through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, my distress will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:18-19).
We Long For Heaven Together.
Indeed, this is not how it’s supposed to be. But each time we gather we’re reminded that there is a greater purpose and perfect glory awaits. Come, Lord Jesus!
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21).
We Proclaim The Truth To Each Other.
Yes, when we worship, particularly through song, we are lifting up the name of Jesus. Some songs are directly sung to God, while other songs are about Him. He is still the object of our worship, but these are the songs we sing to each other to remind our brothers and sisters of what we believe and what we know to be true.
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
This is not to praise the church. This is merely what we are called to do, and if it is happening, this is a work of the Spirit, uniting, convicting, forgiving, empowering. Our God, though so high above us, is so intimately acquainted with all of our ways. (Psalm 139:1-3)
May we not be indifferent to the hurt around us. No matter what your “thing” is – whether sin, physical sickness or emotional state – it does not isolate or excuse you. Rather, it reserves a seat for you at the table of grace and gives you a common bond with the broken soul sitting next to you. Every person you meet has either a past, present or future struggle. This weekend gathering with other believers is an opportunity to be vulnerable (James 5:16), to be Christ-like (Philippians 2:8), to build up and direct the attention of our brothers and sisters to our sympathetic High Priest who ultimately carries our burdens (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Have every encompass eternity in their hearts.
Grace Coleman serves as the Worship Leader at New Life Baptist Church in Davie.
Read last month’s Village Hymns article at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/why-the-church-needs-new-songs-2/