The Congregation of Thanks

“My feet stand on level ground;
in the great congregation I will praise the LORD”  Psalm 26:12.


Willie Gills at Church by Norman Rockwell

I am giving thanks for my church family today.We are not a perfect lot (because I, for one, contribute to the whole), yet we are a special ‘lot.’   God intended that we would belong to something bigger than ourselves. There is safety; there is strength…there is love.  This love is not a Hallmark card variety, but an active, participation in sharing a treasure together.  The Church’s treasure is Jesus! To share with others in His work and wonders colors outside the lines of individuality and creates a masterpiece of His beauty, truth and goodness.

When I think about my church family, I am thankful for:

1. 5th Graders.  My husband and I teach them every Sunday and I have never seen a more hungry group of children.  Hungry for donuts, but not satisfied until we’ve dug deeply into the feast of God’s Word. They will ask me the toughest questions about the Lord that I will get all week.  Watch out!  The next generation are thinkers...I believe they are going to shake up the church and quite possibly spill out into the unreached places for Jesus sake.

2. Co-Workers.  I work alongside some of the most beautiful (inside and out) women!  They are dedicated to their ministry.  They get that ministry is not only what you do, it’s how you do it…and they do it beautifully.

3. The Representatives of the Generations.  I love the diversity of age present in my church. I often sit in the back, because from there I can see the now sloping shoulders of the woman who has walked with Jesus for 50 years as she stands alongside the broad expanse of the high school boy experiencing worship like it is his first Messy Sundae.  It moves me to tears every week to see with my own eyes the mysterious way in which Jesus can draw all shapes, sizes and ages with His love and then put them all together and make them fit. Amazing!

4. Voices.  We are not a shy group about declaring our wonder in Jesus.  We sing loud songs of praise.  We declare boldly the truth of His Word and esteem its Giver.  Our gathering is one frenetic with testimony–in the sanctuary, in the halls, and around the coffee carafes.  If you are struggling with doubts, one weekend with my church family will remind you God is still at work and His voice is still speaking in the hearts of men and women!

5. Servants.  So many serve week in and week out.  Many at great sacrifice, but all with incredible enthusiasm.  Special is the church where service is treated as a privilege rather than an obligation.

This is the way the Lord intended it to be: One body, joined together by Him as a testimony of His love, power, and grace. Enjoy His gift today and give thanks that He had you in mind when He prayed,

I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.  May they all be one, as You, Father, are in My and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.  I have given them the glory You have given Me.  May they be one as We are one. I am in them and You are in Me.  May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.  Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am.  Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation.  Righteous Father!  The world has not known You.  However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me.  I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them”  John 17:20-26.

Amen.  May it be so.

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