Today was a good day in church. Here are a few of the high points:
Highlight 1: In Sunday school, after talking about the parable of the sheep and the goats and its implications for our church, our teacher directed us to 1 John 3:17. I had the NLT, and this is how it read:
“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?”
I think it was the unfamiliar translation, but something about that verse just hit me in the face like it was the first time I’d heard it. Such a simple question…
In discussing what a life that follows these verses looks like, our Sunday school teacher said something that really hit home to me:
“It’s about having your day usurped. It’s about finding out that the things you thought were important are not as important as the needs of others.”
Ouch. My plans tend to be very important to me. These words, and the verses that lead up to them, really spurred me. Yep, “spurred” is definitely the word!
Highlight 2: After Sunday school, I went to pick up my kids, who were finishing up a thankfulness activity. Luke proudly showed me his craft:
I’m thankful for our family, too, Luke.
Highlight 3: During the Lord’s Supper, the speaker directed us to Philippians 2, an old stand-by. Again, the simplicity of the NLT brought new life to the words in verse 4:
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
Again, so simple and yet, so relevant. Also, I think it has been too long since I’ve read an epistle; I realized today that I am starving for them. Hungry for more, I read past the requisite first 11 verses and was blown away by verse 13:
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
Ah…manna from heaven is what that verse is to me, especially in light of all the “spurring” that went on during Sunday school!
Highlight 4: Greg did something different in church today. He shortened his sermon on Romans 6, saving time for us to break out into four groups and answer discussion questions about the passage and its applicability to our lives. His rationale was that it is a shame for us all to get together as a body and only listen to one guy talking, when there are so many stories and experiences and thoughts to be shared. I loved that. I also love that everyone in church was invited to be a part of the groups and to participate. My kids and I even went to different groups! In my group, there was a sweet six-year-old girl, and who thoughtfully participated, and the group leader, a Bible professor at Lipscomb, did a great job at affirming her (very good) comments. For example, when the group was asked what individual things we could do to live out the story of Jesus, this little girl thought a moment, then raised her hand. When called on, she offered, “You can be nice to the person you’re next to.” So precious…and as I thought about it, so profound. If you know me, you know that I do think we have global responsibilities to our neighbors across the oceans; however, I also know how easy it is to “love” people who are far away. In contrast, it is sometimes so difficult to love the person who is right next to us: our neighbors, the person in the grocery store, our brothers and sisters in Christ, even our family members. As our group leader affirmed, just think of what a better world it would be if we all loved the person next to us!
Highlight 5: During the closing prayer, I noticed Anna slip something into my bag. After the prayer was over, I pulled out her note:
Is it any wonder that Sunday tends to be my favorite day?
What did you do in church today?