This last Sunday, I was a mess at church! But a beautiful mess, at that. Those are the best type of messes, the beautiful ones. About half way through the music portion of first service, I broke down weeping. (Last Monday during my minor surgery, there were 3 very amazing men praying together in the hospital's chapel.) We were singing a beautiful song led by our beautifully bald worship leader, Jeff, when I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving for these men. I turned around to see Mark, then Kent, then Mike. As I thanked each one for spending time praying for me, I felt like such a baby. Crying ash (mascara, really), all over them and just blubbering. A pathetic but beautiful mess.
First service ends, second begins. During this wonderful set of songs, a beautiful woman walks up to Pastor Mike and asks if she can dance. Dance! For Jesus! Of course you can dance! Please, by ALL MEANS DANCE YOUR HEART OUT! So she goes over to the back east corner behind the cafe to dance. Not to be a distraction, not to bring attention to herself nor to be holier than thou. But to worship. So, naturally, I began sobbing again. A mess. It is a mystery that my eyes did not fall out. Can you please soak in this beauty? Yes, I am the creepy person who takes photos without asking permission. For now, I dont think its illegal. Sorry.
As I stood in the back, or rather slouched, I gazed over the people sitting in the awkwardly reclined chairs (come check them out for yourself).
First, there with the short blonde hair and blue sweater. You cannot see her husband, but he is on her right. This couple has been with us since before the beginning. They have had quite the year. They are so faithful, so loving, so genuine and beautiful (I love the word beautiful). He does our graphic art (is that what its called?) and she helped start up our cafe. They are gifts. As I thought of them and thanked God for them, I let my beautiful mess get messier. There was no fixing this mess.
Here below in the back of this blurry photo is a woman with shoulder length hair and a denim shirt. Weekly & behind the scenes she serves our Jesus and her church family. She is a prayer warrior. A single mom who is, to be so honest, incredible. For tear down, she consistently sweeps the building after she takes out all of the dirty trash (as opposed to clean trash?), never complaining. She is so important to us and her faithfulness gets me deep in the gut. I am so appreciative of her example for my life. As I prayed for her and thanked God for her, the mess got ever messier.
Still above, see the man up front on stage wearing ear plugs or something? Maybe they are head phones. He is playing the djembe. Maybe it is a cohon. Either way, this man moved his family from a different city to be a key part of this church plant. Of this church family. Of this community. They lived in a camper trailer for months just to be here. To put it simply, he is one of my heroes. He is doing a full time masters program, working full time, and has 3 children and a beautiful wife. He has an over-time life and still gives abundantly to this community. He is an amazing artist, a talented musician, and so much more. Each week, his hug is like a dad's hug to me. As I watched him lead us into worshiping God, my beautifully messy mess was just becoming a disaster on my face. I mean, I think I lost some eye lashes, people.
Lastly, this man. Jeff. Our beautifully bald worship leader. Oh the faithfulness of this man. If I could even begin, I would not know where. But, as you know, I was already in shambles. Weeping over the faithfulness of our church family. This community being built here in this city. this beautiful town of Corvallis. And I am so deeply grateful for this generous, humble, loving, and completely accepting man. The people that make up Corvallis Church are more than I could have dreamed. Which MEANS God is so much bigger than I can even believe! People are faithful which means they are humbly committing themselves to a messy group of people. That when the going gets tough and issues arise, they still stick around. Faithfulness is a sure sign of humility. The faithfulness of the people had turned me into a beautiful mess this last Sunday. And I am more than okay with that.
So I ask: who in your life has been faithful? Who, through the yucky and mucky stuff, has stuck around? Who do you need to thank God for, and maybe write a thank you letter to?
My bible study this morning ended with this: "No doubt Gods heroes are those who never forget HIS faithfulness. May we be counted among them."