AfterWords is a series of community-contributed reflections intended to further the conversations that begin at The Parish.
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A 3-Minute Reflection
from Beth Nelson
Things happen when a community gathers in God’s name. Cosmic things. When we read Scripture together and listen for Him to speak, we find unity, boldness, power, peace that passes understanding. Is it any wonder the walls of the house shook as the believers prayed in the early church? He told us it would be this way when He was here with us. Where two or more are gathered in My Name, I am there among them.
I AM was among us this weekend.
Sometimes incrementally, sometimes earthquakingly, the Presence of God changes things. The Kingdom comes a little bit more, and sometimes a whole lot more. As we gathered in homes around our community, we heard the words of Scripture together, meditating on the characteristics of the Acts 2 church, and we experienced together the way the Lord is tangibly present when we devote ourselves to Him and to one another. Across these four House Churches (get well soon, Roswell!), the Lord revealed Himself in beautiful ways. Lives were prayed for. Children were seen and heard and welcomed. Vulnerability was shared. Tears shed. Hugs—full, strong, meaningful hugs—were given and received. Laughter broke out all around the house. We left with new connections made, new friends to pray for and with, new community to lean on. Though I was only present at one House Church, it’s not a leap in logic to believe these are commonalities among them all. There were lots of seats. The very structure itself said, There’s a place for you here. Come sit by me. There were name tags—We want to know you. We took the Eucharist together, speaking the words we realized we know by heart, affirming that the Father IS with us. Christ IS among us. The Spirit IS here.
Jordan recently shared Frederick Buechner’s words that the Lord’s Prayer is a terribly risky thing to pray, and the only thing that makes it bearable is that it begins with Our Father. Similarly, the vulnerability and inability to hide that comes with meeting as House Churches can feel understandably like thin ice. It’s scary, it could fail, it can’t be guaranteed. What if it can’t hold me? What makes it bearable, reinforced even, is the grace-filled presence of the Spirit and the love and community of the Trinity, reflected in the communion we share as God’s people. Bring yourself here. You’re wanted and welcomed. We can hold all of you.
There may not have been an earthquake where you were, but I can assure you Heaven was rejoicing. If you missed House Church this week, we really can’t wait to share it with you in September. We’ll save your seat.