Church in the Garden of Eden starts at ten in the morning, and Sunday School is at 8:30 a.m. Our church is a community church that has fellowship time between Sunday School and Church. Like any good church, we have our characters. No church will ever be perfect.
In fact, sometimes I am thankful for imperfect even when imperfect steps on my last nerve and makes my hair want to fall out. Imperfect tries to tell me what to do, where to serve, and how I can improve as a person. I’m sure you know lots of imperfects in your town. On the bright side, my Sunday School is wonderful.
S.M. likes to make copious notes. I like how he listens. His reading glasses make him look like a professor. He’s kind of good looking with glasses on. Our Sunday School is multigenerational. The sea of white and gray is broken by browns, reds, and blondes. Because our church is small, we only have one Sunday School. Some churches have small groups, but not ours. It’s not that big, but I like small.
When you are small, you get to know the people more intimately. You know who is having surgery, who is sick, who is having babies, and who is getting divorced, married, or remarried. When someone needs food, the pastor makes a collection. Our local food bank owner is friends with our pastor, but our pastor likes to make a good impression by having our own congregation provide for the person in need. S.M. likes to talk to him after church.
It’s the people that make a church. The teaching has always been good and we’ve been blessed with people who take us deeper into God’s Word. It’s expository. Without the people, it’s just teaching; and teaching is what can be found on the internet. The church in the Garden of Eden is loving; a mixed salad of greens and peppers. Some challenge and some accept. My friend and I talk about church all the time.
“Church can be hurtful.” She said.
“It can also help you grow.” I said. “You can’t focus on the hurt. You have to open your eyes and see the rest of the church, not just the hard edges. So many good people live and breathe here in the Garden of Eden. They grew up with scars and issues. You and I know this.”
“I know it,” My friend touched her head,”here. But not here.” My friend touched her chest.
S.M. is a guy so he isn’t as sensitive as us women. When I read the internet stories of church in the Christian world, I often wish we would stop harping on the negative and open our eyes to what God is doing in the church. We’re harming ourselves. Our Sunday School talks about the stories of how church is changing in America. My friend is worried about churches, too. She said to me last week, “We have to continue going to church even if church has left marks, because you are right that there are good people in church.”
That’s forgiveness. And forgiveness is what Jesus talks about often in the Bible. Humility happens when we realize we might have also hurt others, too.
So this morning…go to church. I know it’s been a long time, and you’re still feeling those wounds, or maybe they are scars now? Find a church that stands strong and boldly on the Word. Large or small, house church or traditional, it’s up to you to go back into fellowship with believers.
You are missed.