Yesterday I spent some time with my grandparents. My mom’s parents live about thirty minutes away; because of our very busy schedule, we don’t see them all that much. Spending more time with them, however, is a priority of mine in this New Year.
The kids and I had lunch with them, and my grandma made all of their favorites, which used to be mine, as a young child! Homemade macaroni and cheese and applesauce, with a bit of ice cream and chocolate sauce to finish our meal – yes, we will be visiting more often! These favorite dishes and the stories shared over lunchtime are the things memories are made of. I told our oldest daughter how I used to help my grandma and grandpa in their doctor’s office. We shared how a milkman delivered milk in a glass bottle to their front porch when I was little. We talked about the family dog, snow storms, and other times gone by. These memories are extra special to me because when I was eight or nine, we moved many miles away from my grandparents. Our visits became much less frequent. How blessed I am to have two of my grandparents with us here in the area.
These memories, meals, and conversations are what I love most about Church. How do you define Church? For me, it’s not attendance at worship – though I do that every week, and I look forward to it! For me, it’s not our building, though I enjoy that too, when I have a chance to walk through the memorial garden, sit quietly in my office, or even spend a night at some late hour with the youth group. No – for me, Church is Family.
Psalm 68 offers a promise to us and with it, a definition of what it means to be a Church. It first reminds us to worship Him:
Sing to God, sing praise to his name —
extol him who rides on the clouds —
his name is the LORD
and rejoice before him. (68:4).
And then, the next verse in this Psalm resonates with all who are lonely, and we all are sometimes, aren’t we? Take a look at God’s promise to us:
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families (68:5,6).
Likewise, 1 John 3:1 reminds us, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” What a promise! Not only are we never, ever alone because of the presence of the Lord with us, but God calls us His children, and He sets us in families. He did that for me when I was looking for a church home a number of years ago. Has he done that for you?
Orenco Church is my family, and it is a family I love. I look forward to worship on Sundays, to various Bible studies throughout the week, to Youth Group Sunday evenings, and to Alpha – to sharing conversations, and memories, and laughter with my family – on Wednesday evenings. This is the stuff that Church is made of. If you’re missing out on church life, you’re missing God’s intent. As the Body of Christ, not only do we worship together, but we live life together. That is one of our strengths at Orenco.
As the Psalmist concludes, “Awesome is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!” Amen.