An Ode to my Church

I want to say at the start that absolutely no church is a perfect place. They simply cannot be because each church is comprised of members who suffer the same plague: sin. When we turn over our lives to the only One who can save us, what we do receive is forgiveness, redemption and indwelling, but what we do not receive is instant transportation into sinless perfection. In fact, the mortification of our flesh is part of the Christian vocation for the remainder of our lives.

I love you guys, and I want to tell you what you are doing right. I think it honors God the Father, and honors the Bridegroom of the Church when we honor His bride. When I think of you all, I think of 1 Corinthians 13. Christians, agnostics and atheists know this passage. If you have attended more than 3 weddings, you have heard this passage preached, read or written on the back of the program. 1 Corinthians 13 is a staple of marriage ceremonies and that makes me sad. Why does that make me sad? It makes me sad because Paul did not write these words for the purpose of a wedding, but a church body.

This is my ode to you, Bethany because you love well. When God called us to what is affectionately known as “the little white church on the side of the road”, I had no clue about the future. Wendie and I had been praying about where God would have us serve, not knowing why God sent us here. But hindsight is good, and I now know. When we came to Bethany, we were childless, but you have loved us through the birth of our three beautiful children and have loved them like your own. You have loved us while we were working to get to know you as our new family, and as I made quite a few mistakes in the process. You have loved me in spite of some unpopular decisions I have made and not just a few miserable sermons. You have shown me love. 

But the biggest challenge was to come. It was about this time one year ago Wendie first, then I started noticing my speech was different. Nothing major, but different. Nobody panicked and we did some things. It took until December 15 (the day after my 47th birthday) to get the confirmation that I had the worst case scenario.

You guys stepped up. You began praying hard for me, reaching out to me. You guys hosted a prayer service for me and my family. You tell me you regularly pray for me and I believe with my whole heart that you do. You consistently encourage and are mindful of us. You love well. So here is my ode to you:

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

You love me, because Christ first loved you. And for you, I am eternally grateful.

I Love you, Pasta B. 

Posted on April 3, 2016 .