He caught my eye in a flash, and then I couldn’t stop staring at the man at least a hundred feet away (we attend a large church). Bearded (which is normal these days) and alone, he stood when we stood, sat when we sat.
What if Jesus stopped into our churches, sat in the chairs/pews, sang our songs, listened to our sermons. What would He think? Would He smile? Sigh? Feel ostracized? Welcomed? Alone? Appreciated?
I kept my eyes on Jesus, watching Him for any shift in position or the shaking of the head. I was too far to see if He had tears or a smile etched into His face. I half expected that if I looked away and bounced my eyes back that He would be gone.
As I listened to the sermon, my heart swelled. Pastor Steve talked about prayer. He got choked up when he mentioned the many people who don’t yet know Jesus. It was a winsome, invitational sermon, beckoning us to a holy occupation of kneeling for the sake of others, to connect well with Jesus, to intercede for the hurting and needy. I nearly slipped to my knees, but I let my self-consciousness dictate my choice.
Our church (your church, their church) is not perfect. Most days its messy, full of people with messed-up lives. But wasn’t that the lot of the disciples too? Weren’t they a mess? And yet, Jesus poured Himself into the mess.
If it was Jesus who walked in, sat down, and sang alongside, I think He would feel at home. He would welcome Pastor Steve’s words about knees to the earth.
In the melee of the beautiful sermon, I took my eyes of Jesus. And by the time I remembered to find Him again, He was gone, most likely having filed out with the rest of the people at the service’s end.
He was just hanging out with those He loves…