Devotional Thought of the Day:
22 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. 23 Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. 24 Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, 25 not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. 26 If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice 27 and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! Hebrews 10:22-26 (MSG)
940 “Where charity and love are found, there is God” we sing in the liturgical hymn. Here is what a certain soul noted down: “Fraternal love is a great and marvellous treasure. It is not simply a consolation—which it certainly often has to be—but it really brings home the certainty of having God close to us, and shows itself in the charity our neighbours have for us and in the charity which we have for them.”
Yesterday, our church was blessed to have a great pastor come and preach, just months before he retires from a prominent role in the church. I really wanted my people to hear him preach, to hear him talk of God’s love. But I also wanted him to hear them respond to him, to minister to him, as they have for nearly 10 years, to me.
You see, I need them, I need the church,
Not to pay my salary as a pastor, (though that gives me the freedom to teach and care more) I need them to encourage me, to lift me up, to help me survive in this crazy broken world. I need them to remind me that my sins are forgiven. I need to hear them fire back with great confidence “And also with you” which is what I wanted my district president to hear.
He’s going to need it as life dramatically changes. Just as we need to hear it now.
St. Josemaria has it right, this bond between brothers and sisters in Christ is not just a consolation, it is far more than just the comfort we bring, it brings home the certainty that God is with us. The love, the charity, the mercy we find ourselves dwelling in, sharing with each other, is beyond our own ability. It is because of the love of God. It is His work, it is His love that empowers and enables us to love each other.
The challenge is that we get so distracted by life or by work, even by the business of church that we forget to look around, to pray for that person, to give that one a good solid hug, to look in that person’s eyes and make sure they hear us when we say, “The peace of God is with you!”
I need to be a part of the church because I need to know God’s presence, that He is at work, to be reminded of this when sorrow hits, to be encouraged to re-focus when I am distracted to be encouraged. I also need to be able to make that difference in other people’s life. I know that I am not the only one that needs the church, that needs to know God is present, not just as a doctrinal statement of omnipresence, but as a reality seen in a life in the community, in a life with others God has gathered together.
I need the Church, simply because through the Church we find revealed to us the incredible dimensions of God’s love for us. I find the comfort that God offers when I cry to Him, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner”.
I pray you find that need in your life answered as well.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 3321-3325). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.