The people in the room came from different denominations and cultural backgrounds. We stood together in front of our chairs in a horseshoe-shaped set up and sang from our hearts to the Lord of Lords. I couldn’t help but think of the two religions that weren’t represented here–one that wasn’t Christian and one that controversially was Christian; Mormons and Catholics. Both say they are the true church.
Later, I would say this to S.M. over a cup of chamomile tea in the foyer of this church. S.M. filled his mug with black coffee and stepped away to let a frosted blonde woman with feathers in her ears get to the French Roast. I followed S.M. over to the side where we could speak privately.
“Catholics do say that in the mantra, remember?” S.M. said. “I pinched you during service one day when they were saying the mantra.”
“Yes, I remember.” And I remembered all those times when the Mormon church kept saying their church was the true church. It was said so many times! My thoughts were interrupted when someone jostled my elbow. I looked up and recognized Mari.
She looked brighter somehow today, but soon disappeared in the crowd on the arm of a young man I hadn’t seen before. I looked around, lifting the tea bag up and down in the hot water.
The foyer was crowded with so many different people. During the worship service as the music played, I saw a woman wave her hands in the air, eyes closed in rapturous enjoyment. A man had both arms up in the air in a v-shape with his face tilted up towards heaven. Some of us more conservative people kept ourselves composed, especially those of us from the Garden of Eden church. I sipped my tea. S.M. sipped his coffee as conversations ebbed and flowed around us in indistinguishable syllables.
In a few minutes, we will return to the worship day of prayer, and pray for the persecuted church. I stared at my tea as I thought about those words:
Here we are, I thought. The body of Christ together in unity, praising God–the God of the Trinity.
A scripture came to mind, at first fuzzily, but a bit clearer:
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. – Romans 12:4-5 (read more here) Emphasis mine.
My church, this church, is family. The Garden of Eden church is my immediate family. The rest of them here today are distant family; relatives I have yet to meet, but hope to encourage with prayer and fellowship. They are my brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers.
And sometimes we admittingly don’t get along, but I don’t know any family that totally gets along. Someday in Heaven, we won’t have these problems. I am grateful for the people here, for it is far better to have loved than to never have had the opportunity.