Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above. Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares. We share each other’s woes, our mutual burdens bear; and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear. When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people. Psalm 116:16
So as I was straightening up my brand new MacBook Air computer desktop this morning, I clicked on that old neglected Eucharisteo list…the one that I started typing after rereading the story of Jesus and the ten lepers, when only one turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks…and he was a Samaritan. And it’s kind of amazing. No, absolutely, unconditionally really amazing. And some of it is about creation or stuff, such as 10. For the St. Francis fountain and the sweet reminder of water, one of Your greatest gifts or 25. For dictionaries and words, their power and beauty that touches our soul or 156. For big bunches of flowers from our yard and the alley on the dining room table, but most of them are for people, the people who have shared each other’s woes, the people who our mutual burdens bear, the people whose hearts are bound in Christian love, the fellowship of kindred minds.
119. That Nicole encourages people to try new things that take them out of their pre-misconceptions of their selves… like me and swimming and Fred in running
105. That Alan is an amazing teacher who puts in all of the necessary prep work to teach and inspire students and to let them know they are important and what they are doing, learning is important
27. That Frederic is listening to Your Love Never Fails right this moment and I can know it because of Spotify and all that You have done and are doing in his life
71. For Lex Wilcox and how he didn’t give up but allowed his pain to produce fruit in many pained lives, to allow You to create beauty from ashes
92. For the beautiful black and white tablecloth and the keen eye of Alene for beauty
257. For Dustin who will crawl under a trailer and weld a gas line during the week and then build a kitchen for a friend on his day off
298. For Janelle who is so sweet and wise with a little boy frightened of Pippen
317. For Randy Reynolds being faithful through the valley of the shadow of death
177. For Zach with his crooked smile and idealism that will mature into a tree planted deep by the streams of life
355. For Jincheng’s broad smile as he tries to follow my how-to-live-better instructions.
360. For the haunting passion of Ryan Coykendall when he leads worship; who woulda thunk?
267. For quotes by G. K.Chesterton: "Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble."
264. For You at work in far away places, and I want to especially thank you for an unknown but faithful pastor of the immigrant church in Lugo
209. For the patience of Heather the gardener who did not give up but who kept at it and a supportive husband who kept digging holes until the yard was beautiful
397. For Jack and Mary Anne being there every day to hear the ups and downs and rejoice
190. For Jerry Bowen who tries to do the right thing even though the road is long
80. For Cameron and his journey and his persistence to understand and weigh life and his gift to put it into lyrics and music that haunts
250. For fiddle players in the Ben’s Bells booth
And the thing about this list is that it is just a tiny, very sporadic snapshot of God’s great goodness as lived out by His Church. And there are literally hundreds of names and unnamed: Wise Dre, Beautiful Pamela, and Faithful Momma and Faithful Sue to Full-of-Life Italians, Kind Store Clerks, and A Gentle Nun to yes, even Wry Igor who visited us from the pit of hell. And it is so easy for me to get my knickers twisted out of shape by unmade phone calls or What We Believe statements that are far too long and far too exclusionary for a Simple But What Is Sin-shattering community breaking of bread and that is not at all about the Church and what really is True.
God’s complex wisdom is being worked out in the Church, that God purposes in His sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in Him.
The Weight of Glory.
And I have made some vows of in Whom my hope is placed in His presence and in the presence of His people. And He is faithful and just and we will walk through this messy workmanship fulfillment process together, with His Spirit that binds us together.
We with a capital letter.