“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them”.

~Matthew 18:20

[M]y mind wanders.  I am reading the middle chapters of the book of Joshua.  You know, the part where we learn of the assigned boundaries of the individual tribes of Israel.  God goes before the people of Israel into the Promised Land, delivering the nations already living there into their hands and then the land is divided up twelve ways; 2.5 East of the Jordan and 9.5 West.  I understand it but must confess that the actual delineation of the land by specific boundaries makes for a tedious read.  There are a few places in the Word of God where I struggle similarly.  I have come though, to be comfortable with the idea that if it has made it into the Word, God deems it important and therefore it is important for me to read it.  Nonetheless, my mind wanders.

THE+CHURCH+12

I have had the distinct honor of reading through the Bible each year with Paul Kraemer.  Some years we have joined or been joined by others in this reading.  Generally we would corporately gather weekly as a group and discuss what we had read, what we had learned and how the living Word of God impacts or affects our lives today.  The last couple of years Paul and I have gone it as a group of two, meeting weekly at Kenos, where typically my friend will teach me and encourage me as the Scriptures relate to the pain, the joy and the purpose of our day to day.  I am blessed by this time and for me it is church.  As Paul and I are winding down our discussion, we are joined at Kenos by Max Copley and Les Harman.  Our group now numbering four, a group we refer to as “Connecting”, based loosely on a beautiful book by Larry Crabb, begins anew.  The themes or purpose of this gathering, while based in Jesus, becomes transparency, truth, listening, prayer, support, laughter, tears, occasional advice and love.  Connecting has become a priority for me, one of the things I look forward to each week and something I desperately need.  The very freedom, power and grace, which is found in having men in my life who know the real me is difficult to do justice to in or by the written word.  This time, with these men, has become sacred and speaking for myself, it is church. –  I walk a cold water stream with my friend Dan Stoner, a fly fishing rod in my hand, a big brown on my fly, or not, words often spoken but not required.  It becomes so clear that we are loved by the Creator of the universe; it is church.  –  I am informed by Gloria on a Saturday that the paramedics are leaving Potty Scotty at the bus stop at Katella and Main.  Could we kindly go pick him up, bring him to the kitchen and get him fed?  Driving over with Ritchie to round up Scotty in all his nicknamed glory, understanding that there but for the grace of God go I; it is church.  –  Picking up Scott Farrell at the corner of Katella and Douglas each Saturday morning for coffee at Starbucks prior to heading over to the Kitchen, it is good and it is church.  Sitting at the very same Starbucks for our after Mary’s debriefing with Dan and whatever motley crew can join us; yes, it is church.  –  Riding the river trail on our bikes, Deb and I finding joy together.  We ride and then stop to chat with our friends; it is church.  –  Gratefully following Amy’s lead, while sitting in a purposeful board of directors meeting for Joy Squared; again, church.  –  Four or five 6:00am meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous each week.  New friendships formed, solutions to the things of life heard and applied; you got it, church.   –  Texting Lyle a “yes”, arriving at Friends church, hearing beautiful praise music and an inspiring message; it is indeed church.

It has become very clear to me that all of us, if we are only willing to  participate in our own lives, if we are paying attention, if we are listening, if we are noticing and if we then extend ourselves to others in service and love, then our record of church attendance will clearly be and remain 100%.

A true and humbling honor to serve alongside each and every one of you….We are the church!

Scott

“There is no absolute success in the world, only constant progress”.

~Joanthan Swift