I was early to church on Sunday, which for me really just means I was on time. It was also my morning to serve at the Welcome Center, to stand there with a smile. To, well, welcome everyone bustling past, to greet familiar faces with warmth and brand new faces with certainty and directions.
The hallways were empty when I arrived, the early service still in session, those arriving for the Sunday School hour trickling in from the parking lot.
It was still quiet. I rooted through the drawers so I would know which ones held registration forms and which ones stashed the extra pens. I tried not to topple over in my heels. I checked my pockets to make sure I had my car keys. I ignored the buzz of my phone, because what if a first-time visitor walked up right at that moment and I was texting?
I should have checked my phone.
The hallway began to fill with people, some from the early service, some hurrying in from the cold with children in tow, many of us somber with the news, many in tears. It was a moment of uncertainty, a moment pregnant with fear, a moment when we as a church held our breath, if only we could give little Drew ours. It was a moment when prayer hummed heavy in the air.
It was a moment when I caught a divine glimpse of the way church was always designed to be.
During that early service, our pastors were notified of Drew’s desperate condition. The final hymn was cut short to pray and to pray in earnest and with boldness. Many Sunday School classes spent their time praying specifically for this amazing family. A few left church early to make the drive to Nashville just to be present.
It was frightening; it was beautiful.
It’s so easy (and maybe even a little trendy) to see the church in a harsh light, especially these days. We are noisy. We are arrogant. We are certain we are right, aren’t we? We tend to waste our voices on petty issues, we forget the grand picture, we fight amongst ourselves, we categorize, we judge, we pick, we point.
And I get frustrated often when the still, quiet voices are being drowned out by those who can shout the loudest. I get tired when our God is told to step back and take a seat in favor of politics and prejudice. It is easy to lose faith in those who claim to be the faithful. It is easier still to misplace that faith in the first place.
But Sunday morning, from my post behind my church’s Welcome Center, I saw God stretch out and down and through the arms and prayers and voices and tears of a church family moving together toward wholeness, toward holiness.
I saw a common brokenness, a chorus of desperate pleas for God to Come!, and the salve as He responded, as He pressed His grace between the cracks, as He answered, on this day, Yes, My children.
I saw the church the way God meant for her to be, and for that Sunday morning, the Bride of Christ was glorious.