It's a rainy Monday morning in the Southeastern region of the United States - gloomy and overcast and the kind of day where you just want to stay curled up in bed under the covers. But, you need the rain in order to have the flowers, so I am not going to complain. I pray that you had a great weekend full of wonderful blessings. I know that I did! God is so good. After a week of trials and tribulation, He knew what I needed this weekend. Even though it rained every day, He allowed the sun to shine through when I needed it. Let me tell you about my weekend:
On Friday evening, I had a conversation with a dear friend who told me that he didn't see the point in going to church anymore. He gave me a list of percentages and reasons why people went to church - either out of habit, or being forced by their parents, or for the social interaction with friends, or because they are scared of God and hell's fire, etc. He asked me why did I go to church every week...and I was STUMPED. I couldn't come up with an adequate, coherent, honest answer for him...and that bothered me.
My mother and I got up EARLY (4:00 a.m.!) Sabbath morning and participated in the feeding program at our church. [For 20 years, our church has ministered to the homeless population of our city by feeding them a good hot meal on Saturday mornings.] After a quick nap, we went to church and were blessed by song and the ministry of a guest speaker, Pastor Gary James, who spoke about THE POWER OF A WITNESS. All I can say is, it was a wake-up call to me and a spiritual kick in the butt about my personal witness: at home, at work, wherever I am. After a nutritous meal and a power nap, we returned to church for a concert and were blessed by the music of up-and-coming gospel artist, Jasmine Brann (you should check her out on http://www.itunes.com/). What a blessing to hear a young woman who is dedicating her life to the Lord and sharing her testimony through song.
Yesterday, my mother and I attended a production of the play, GODSPELL - and as I sat in the audience and watched the re-enactment of Christ's ministry here on earth portrayed through song and drama, I was moved to tears at the sacrifice He made for sinful, unworthy, wretched me. But I am so glad that He looked down through the annals of time, saw me in 2008, and said to His Father, "Yes, she is worth it...I will go." AMEN!
When the weekend was over and I was laying in my bed last night, I realized that I just MIGHT have an answer for my friend as to why I go to church / why I serve the Lord. And it's really very simple: Because serving Him renews me and gives me the strength I need to handle just one more day. Because the gathering with the saints (and yes, even the devils found in church) encourages my soul. It gives me hope that I am not alone in the struggle to serve Him. That when things are dark, the song THIS TOO SHALL PASS speaks truth into my heart and soul (thank you, Sarita Brantley, for your ministry this past Sabbath!). It is a journey...every Sabbath doesn't inspire the same feelings. Every church service doesn't fill your spirit and soul as it should. BUT when it does, AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
I don't know what your weekend held for you. I pray that you saw the goodness of the Lord moving in your life, in the lives of those you love and hold dear. I pray that, somehow, some way this weekend you felt God's presence, reassuring you and upholding you and loving you. I pray you heard His still small voice telling you that He loves you beyond measure. Because He does. As Jasmine sang on Sabbath, He loved you (and me) with a cross...No matter what the enemy tries to tell you, you are loved and valued beyond measure.