Windowsill Sitters and the Community of Bread Breakers {When Church Hurts}

No one noticed.

All those people and not one noticed. Here they are, gathered to break bread and they miss the brokenness surrounding them.

Guess it goes to show that no matter how many lamps you light, you can still be blind. Blind to the ministry of the Bread. Blind to brokenness. Blind to those who are sinking into a deep sleep right before your very eyes.

Oh sure, someone probably noticed the loser who was falling asleep. Passed judgment. Questioned why he bothered to even come and take up space. Negatively speculated why he was so tired. Then nudged their neighbor to notice too. Agreed to confront him for his disrespect after the service. Maybe someone should hold a parent meeting—these upstanding families did not go to the trouble of homeschooling their children to now have them exposed to such riff-raff here. You know, on further thought, maybe he shouldn’t be coming here at all—he doesn’t reflect the vision we have for this community of bread breakers.

Call your judgment whatever you want, it’s ugly. It’s the yeast of hate. 

No doubt they overlooked the profundity that he came at all. When life has you tired and you’re just too weary to face another day like today, it’s hard to enter the community of bread breakers. You know your own fragility all too well. It won’t take much of an effort for them to break you too.

But he came. He showed up. He was trying.

And with his pulse racing, he sits on the windowsill. You know, he stays close to an exit. Knowing he’ll need the fresh air when he gasps for a breath, or dashes to escape. There are never enough windowsills for those who are trying to leave their grieving hearts on the outside.

There are always signs when someone is sinking into a deep sleep. If you want to, you will notice when the light inside is about to flicker for the last time. But bread breakers can get so busy breaking bread and bones that they fail to notice. And the enemy of the Bread whispers, “No one notices, just go to sleep.”

The reality is that Eutychus (Acts 20:7-12) was dead inside before he ever hit the ground. He’s a lot like the windowsill sitters in your church. What? Yes, you have windowsill sitters in your church who are hurting, gasping for breath, listening to the whispers that wage war against hope and life.  They too have a name. Do you know it?

Church hurts when no one notices that life has you sitting in the windowsills sinking into a deep sleep.

Could it be we bread breakers get too focused on the loaf instead of the love? When Jesus broke bread, He first noticed the filthy film of dirt on His friend’s feet, and He washed them. Judas was already on the windowsill, but Jesus noticed him, and fed him.  Love notices. Its heart breaks with others in their brokenness. It doesn’t try to fix. It just refuses to fail to notice. It gets close enough to wash the dirt. It refuses to even let an enemy go hungry. Could it be that people get sleepy because they were first hungry for love?

So here we are, just like the first century church with people falling out the windowsills. I know. I’ve heard your story. I have lived my story. I know how many of you have told me that nobody noticed. Nobody cared. Maybe church isn’t such a safe place if someone has to fall out the window before someone notices their heart had already been asleep for a long time.

“But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, ‘Do not be troubled, for his life is in him” (Acts 20:10).

That’s where we begin. We notice. We go. We embrace. Notice when people are absent. When they leave, go to them–not to drag them back, but to let them know you love them. When they are hurting, embrace them–not to try to fix them, but so they won’t have to hurt alone.

Penn State Gate reminds us that those who do nothing are just as guilty as those who do wrong. Abuse in the church happens–it’s just a sad reality. Bread breakers are not immune from also breaking people with their words, misused power, and misappropriated motives. It compounds the wounds when no one cares enough to notice and to The Apostle Paul saw that something happened that should not have happened and Will you?

When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak” (Acts 20:11).

 Church stops hurting when we bring close the broken, break the bread together, and allow the daybreak of love to enter each other’s sleeping heart for however long that might take. Is it not a beautiful picture of the grace community of which the bread represents? 

No more blindness—Windowsill sitters are crying to be seen, to be embraced, and to be awakened from their deep sleep. No more excuses for why you can’t. The love in the loaf demands it.

Have you ever been a windowsill sitter? Do you see the windowsill sitters in your church? Who do you need to notice? Go to? Embrace?

6 thoughts on “Windowsill Sitters and the Community of Bread Breakers {When Church Hurts}

  1. In one of my talks I refer to people who are ‘Empty Pew People’. Those who once were active in church and for whatever the reason have dropped out. I’m guessing after reading your post they start out in the pews, move to the window ledge and drop from our radar! (and no one noticed) Great post! Thanks.

  2. I know how that feels on both ends. I never realized though that sometimes, most of the times, just coming alongside and embracing a relationship with them is enough. thanks

    • It feels bad, huh? I think until you’ve sat in the windowsill it’s hard to see the other sitters accurately. I know you to be a really good “coming alongside and embracing” friend. The fact that you’ve sat in a hurting place means you have been equipped to love others well…and you do. To be loved. That’s all we need sometimes, to just know we are loved. I’m really thankful you left this comment.

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