Last night I was reminded again why I love the CEEC so much. There is NO ONE like our people!
OK, I understand that there are probably many leaders who feel exactly that way about THEIR people, too. And that is as it should be. As the folks at Life.Church have said so well - Nothing is better than serving God with people you love! And I deeply and truly love the folks whom God has called into communion with us.
Last night we had our regular "Prayer & Share" call for our North American clergy and friends. We gather on zoom the first Tuesday of each month. Last night folk from the USA and Canada jumped on the call, and we had an amazing time !!!!
Some folks couldn't join us. They were sick. One priest sent me a photo of himself in the hospital on oxygen, battling COVID Delta pneumonia. Another of our priests is recovering at home from his battle with COVID; and has just been prescribed some meds and super-vitamins that ought to get him back on his feet. A third brother had been with me in the morning and feeling fine, but was now ill and in bed, so he had to miss the call he never misses!!! (Well, almost never; obviously.)
So we prayed. People poured out their hearts to God, asking Him for healing, for grace, for means to get medicines, for full and speedy recovery. It was amazing just to listen.
Most of the folks who had been ordained last month were on the call, and shared some of the insights and impressions they'd had while here. They shared about different ways the LORD had touched them.
One shared about a vision she'd had in church the Sunday morning after her ordination. She described seeing Jesus walk up to her and pour anointing oil upon her. Another shared how much the service had impacted him, in ways no other gathering had. People spoke about being part of a group that was so deliberate about forgiveness and restoration. One brother shared his joy at being able to be there and see the bishop who had ordained him into the priesthood eight years ago be restored and reconciled. We've been told over and over that not many Christian bodies are as committed to restoration; but it's our heart, our DNA. And our people EMBRACE it, they live it out!
We had someone share news about one of our brothers who has a long history of drug abuse and addiction in his past, but has been set free by Christ. For the last several years he's been walking in a Christ-led recovery, and he's been deliberately reaching out to others who are trapped in that lifestyle. This week, the local sheriff's office called him in to talk about how he's reaching people and how they can learn from him. Trust me, that's NOT what they USED TO talk about with him several years ago! But Jesus changes everything He touches, and everyone who touches Him.
Three different people shared about planting NEW CHURCHES. One will be in Michigan, another in North Carolina, and the last on in Florida. We all celebrated that announcement, rejoicing in the new lives that will soon be touched.
As I was sitting there, listening to people sharing their hearts, their struggles, and hearing people respond and pray -- I was just overwhelmed with love. I was so proud of these folk from so many different backgrounds and places who were committed to following Christ … TOGETHER. Not serving "a communion" but "serving IN communion."
God certainly got it right in Psalm 133 -- HOW GOOD AND PLEASANT IT IS WHEN BRETHREN DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY!!! THERE THE LORD COMMANDS HIS BLESSING.
And I kept thinking over and over - I am SO thankful to be part of a people like this!! I thank God for them. Some mornings I can't find the words to convey the depth and power of the emotions within; today is one of those days. I can't believe that God lets me be a part of a people like this!
How we thank God for you!!!!
Because of YOU we have GREAT JOY as we enter God's presence -- TOGETHER!
What a GREAT GOD !!!!
What an amazing COMMUNION !!!!