Women Encouraged believes that loving Jesus also means loving His body, the Church. We are beyond grateful that our friend Glenna Marshall allowed us to share with you a portion of this beautiful article that she wrote. We hope you will read the entire article on her site, and pray this reminder encourages you to view the people that God has placed in your spiritual family with fresh perspective.
A week ago, the phone rang before dawn.
There‘s never a good reason for calls so early, and my heart immediately began pounding when I answered the phone. A dear church member was on the other end, her voice thick with tears and panic. Her husband had died unexpectedly in the early morning hours. It was difficult to wrap my mind around this sudden news, though surely her disbelief was far greater than mine. Her husband, Ed, had stood in my house just forty-eight hours prior, working to get my furnace going on a bitterly cold day and changing out a light switch in my dining room.
I woke my pastor-husband and thrust the phone into his hands. In that moment, I pictured Ed zooming through the church halls in his wheelchair with my two-year-old in his lap the way he did on the many Sundays that Ed‘s physical pain was too much for walking and standing. The first time he scooped my son up into his lap and took off in the chair, Ed‘s wife was a nervous wreck. I laughed and told her not to worry. I could tell my toddler was having the time of his life. Every Sunday after church, my son had no qualms about climbing up in his buddy‘s lap in the wheel chair and commanding him to go. They rode all around the church building, my son squealing when Ed would lean the chair back on two wheels or let him put on the brakes. No man‘s life can be reduced to one endearing memory, but this was the scene on a loop in my head that morning.
“So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
(1 Corinthians 12:26)
We are a small church; every absence is felt. In the nearly thirteen years I’ve shared a pew in the brick building set far off the highway, we’ve struggled to keep the ancient boiler working properly and we’ve fought to love one another through disagreements and broken fellowship. We’ve shown up when our hearts were warm and when they were cold as ice. We’ve rallied around the Scriptures, argued over certain passages, agreed on what’s most important, taken turns bearing burdens. We’ve extended forgiveness (sometimes messily) and learned to received it (always messily). We’ve learned that the power of the gospel has rewritten our DNA to bind us together as strongly as any biological family. Sometimes we love it, and sometimes, like a lot of families, we get a bit frustrated with one another. This is my up-close version of the Body of Christ.