Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Acting of Thanks

At my old church in Oregon, they have a Thanksgiving Eve service. I know, it sounds weird... like another attempt at naming a random American holiday. There's worship, a very brief message usually in reflection form, and then... open mic for those in attendance to give thanks for what they have/been through.

Three years ago, as a super volunteer with the church's youth group, I had this nagging sensation:

"Win... go up to the mic."

I asked myself why.

"C'mon... it won't hurt much. I promise."

So I did. I proceeded to tell about my story. I'll keep it brief:
- May of 2009, my former church where I was a part-time youth pastor, closed its doors
- Summer 2009, I was angry at the Church. I questioned God's purpose for me in vocational ministry
- Late August 2009, one of my best friends coaxed me back into youth ministry with him at this church.

In short, on the verge of tears, I told the congregation how grateful I was for one simple reason: They looked at an angry, bitter 26-year old youth worker, took me in, and embraced me. They didn't seek an explanation for my failures, nor shunned me because of my baggage. Most of all, I felt like part of a family. In that moment, I felt like Christ was grasping me in His arms, crying with me, assuring me that I was loved, by Him and His Church.

I hope you have that. I hope you have a family or a church community or covenant group or underwater basket weaving class or anything that overflows with the love of Christ, filled with an infectious mercy that's firm and knowing, affirming your created being as God's child.

Be the Church. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

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