Most of the world walks to be with their church family. Loren and I have never walked to be with church community on a Sunday morning, until this morning. Corvallis Church cancelled services for today, along with the rest of the city, and were encouraged to join with any neighbors and have house church (Pastor Mike sent an email with an entire e-service listed! It was awesome). The power went out again last night and our friends invited us over for breakfast and church this morning. They have a wood stove. Us Brenners aren't fond of driving in this slushy snow, so we decided to walk the short mile. In doing so, I found myself complaining way too much:
I was splashed by cars driving by on multiple occasions, I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was tired, I was hot, my calves hurt...seriously, as I list all that I whined about it is embarrassing. Loren, fearlessly leading the way through the sidewalk snow mounds, stopped in his tracks and turned around. He bent to kiss me (because I am a foot shorter than him) and he said, "Most people do this every Sunday. Most of the world walks to be with their church family. And not just in the snow, but in conditions which are just as harsh if not worse. Not with the right shoes or clothing, but either barefoot or with sandals. Can't we make this a memory? Can't this be a funny story we someday tell our kids?" I know what you're thinking: he is amazing. He leads me closer to the heart of Jesus every day. He reminded me that I should do everything without arguing or complaining, like who is this guy? He is my husband and I am so honored to have such a leader that loves me.
As we finished the trek to our friends house, we laughed and we slipped in the slush and we held hands. We talked about what a groovy day it already was, and were excited to hang out with this couple and their three crazy kids. When we arrived, we were greeted with faces plastered against the window and hands waving frantically. The mama was making eggs while the dad was throwing his kids around and making them giggle. The crazy baby sat there slobbering and smiling with his two teeth. The entire time I could not help but be completely joyed observing this family interact: they wrestled, they tickled, they laughed, and they were real.
Our worship music was that of children's laughter. We read through 1 Corinthians chapter 4 (chosen by their 7 year old). We closed with prayer and communion, which was a piece of Chex cereal and some sort of juice in a shot glass, remembering Jesus and the sacrifice He gave for us. It was truly one of the most real "church gatherings" I have ever been a part of. I definitely missed the other 120 people, though - the entire body. There is something to be said about a mass of people gathering to use their gifts and talents to build one another up, all to bring Jesus glory. I decided I would walk to be with church community again, even if it meant through the snow. I decided it was well worth it.
It hit me later that we have a few people who walk to be a part of our church service on any given Sunday morning. These few walk a lot further than I did today, and they usually have each slept in a much less comfortable place than I do.
I am honored to be part of this church community.