I had an amazing weekend of Christian fellowship. When i phrase it that way, it seems petty. But in reality, there is something so deeply penetrating - in an encouraging and uplifting way - about being with other people who know and love God, and pursuing him together in worship and loving one another in fellowship. Hm, that also sounds weird. I am much more sensitive to the way that my religious beliefs and experiences sound since being exposed to strange sounding things in the culture here. And so far this sounds strange.
I'm not sure the theology behind Christian fellowship, except for what the Bible tells us. The Bible says that when two or more come together in Jesus' name, he is present with them. It also says that others will know that we are Christians by our love for one another. How mightily we have failed on this account, don't you think? We'd rather pick apart each other's doctrine than unite in loving and serving each other in Jesus' name. I am just as guilty. When Christ ascended into heaven after his resurrection, he left with his followers the Holy Spirit as a counselor, and Christians believe that when one makes the decision to acknowledge Christ as Savior and as God ("accepting Jesus into their hearts" - metaphorically), that the Holy Spirit comes into us and we are a new creation. Imagine having a room full of people that possess the Holy Spirit, wouldn't there be an undeniable presence there? God is present in our fellowship in a very real and very overwhelming way. And i am so grateful.
I was deeply touched to get to spend my weekend with Gospel Fellowship Community Church. I was invited to lead worship for their Sunday service yesterday morning. I love my current church, as you know, but I'm not sure if it is the size or the fact that we have multiple locations and services, Landon and I have not yet been able to connect meaningfully with anyone there.
Between church yesterday and our worship practices on Friday and Saturday, I was so encouraged by the hospitality of the people at this church. I had many meaningful conversations with so many different people. I had many people want to contact me later for rock climbing or lunch or camping - and they had only just met me! And the church was so delighted to have me visiting and leading the music in their worship service. What a beautiful Christian family. I begin this week deeply touched by my time with GF this weekend. I have not experienced a church body with this kind of love and commitment to Christ and each other in a very long time. I am so grateful!