So, so blessed by what happened at church this morning. The blessing wasn't in the things typically associated with a great Sunday. It wasn't in a huge crowd. It wasn't in perfectly themed worship songs. It wasn't in a polished sermon.
Today's blessing was in witnessing the Gospel's power to heal human brokenness.
. . . And in witnessing broken humans honestly and courageously opening themselves to God's healing.
. . . And in witnessing the congregation's leaders fanning this flame of authentic community.
Here's what happened. Rather than a canned Communion talk, the one giving the Communion talk tearfully read a Scripture about drinking the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, confessed that he had been doing so for the past two years by carrying resentment towards his brother, and then in front of the whole church asked his brother to forgive him and invited his brother and his brother's family to break the Communion Bread with him and his family. A tearful embrace followed at the front of the auditorium as friends gathered to pray with them.
Then the preacher ditched his prepared sermon. Instead, he went unscripted and shared two things from his heart. First, he humbly apologized to the congregation for something he said a couple weeks ago that came across as insensitive. He clarified his intention and then simply said, "I'm sorry."
Then he passionately cast a vision for the congregation (while an elder seated behind me passionately affirmed him)--a vision for the church being a safe place for broken people to be honest about their struggles and receive support, love, and healing. "There are plenty of churches that will kick a man or woman when they're down," he said with fire in his eyes, "but I don't want to be a part of a church like that." He prayed for God to accomplish the mighty work of safe, authentic community within the congregation. After the prayer he celebrated an anonymous single mother--and all other strugglers--for having the courage to simply show up on Sunday, and then he closed with these affirming words: "You make me proud to be a part of this church."