Sometimes as I am speaking I just want to stop and reach out to those in our church family who I know are hurting. There are so many who are dealing with so many different trials and tribulations. The suffering is there.
While I desire to impart biblical information (to go "deep into God's Word" as some put it), my primary focus is to give everyone something they can use to walk through another week. Another week full of ups and downs, victories and defeats.
That's one point of the church. We have the opportunity to hear a teaching that will encourage us and prompt us to go on - to keep on living the Christian faith, to keep on sharing our Christian experience.
But it's even more than that. It's an opportunity to receive from others and to reach out to others.
When I walk through the doors of the Stone Church, my question to myself is this, "whom can I reach out to and minister to today?"
In Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness, Kathryn Greene-McCreight describes her tortured journey through ten years of extreme depression and bipolar disorder. Concerning the importance of Christian fellowship while in recovery, she writes:
"This is why it is so important to worship in community—to ask your brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for you … Sometimes you literally cannot make it on your own, and you need to borrow from the faith of those around you. Sometimes I cannot even recite the Creed unless I am doing it in the context of worship, along with all the body of Christ …When reciting the Creed, I borrow from the recitation of others. Companionship in the Lord Jesus is powerful."
We really do need each other. The church is a community of imperfect people looking to a perfect God for answers, solutions and help in life.
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