"Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!"
"O Lord, I have been called to be part of a holy community. You did not call me in isolation but placed me in the body of Christ, along with every other believer in Jesus throughout the world in every age. Let us grow as a team, work as a team, worship as a team, weep, laugh, and live as a team. Grant me the wisdom and the strength to partner with you and with my brothers and sisters in Christ. For Jesus' sake and in his name I pray. Amen."
--Max Lucado, from "Outlive Your Life"
Today was a wonderful Sunday! A reminder of being part of a faith community that truly is "one body" working to move forward in faith and trust.
In worship this morning, there was such joy and laughter in the service that I couldn't help but LOVE this community. The kids and I did the 'hokey pokey' during the children's sermon - and the whole congregation spontaneously joined in! Awesome. Small groups were being talked about in exciting ways. The chili-cookoff that would be happening this evening had everyone teasing that they would win! We had two people share inspiring stories on the ways their $5 (from the Living a Better Story Challenge) had made a difference in the world. We even rolled out a list, that stretched from the altar to the back of the sanctuary, of ALL the ways the people of our congregation are serving in the world around us! A visual that brought many gasps and surprised "oh!"s. Our Pastor said a special blessing today on our community - and all the ways we are present in the world, as a sign of God's love.
Then, this evening the celebration continued! We had our first ever chili-cookoff! A very fun night! Lots of yummy food - and fun conversation. Prizes were awarded. A young kid came just to eat all the chili he could - and even says if we do it again next year, he's bringing his grandma's chili! It was a fun and light-hearted way to share fellowship with one another.
Following dinner, we went into the sanctuary for our Annual Church Meeting. (I've been to many of these over the years - mostly boring, lifeless, or full of intense bickering.) But this was a celebration! The leaders of our church were able to give uplifting and encouraging reports of what we had accomplished in the past year - and had high hopes for the coming year! There was laughter, jokes, even a toy puppy that rolled around on the floor laughing with glee!
It's such an honor and a privilege to be part of a congregation that is so ALIVE. (At my workshop on Saturday, we learned that leadership isn't about having all the answers - but about asking the big questions. And not about everyone agreeing - but everyone staying in the conversation. This is happening here - on many levels.)
Thank you St. Paul's Church - for a great night, and a great year! Here's looking forward to another one!
Things I am thankful for today:
1. "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On." If you like a little whimsy, and a fun laugh - check out this video. It makes me giggle more every time I watch it. (Thanks, Matt, for sharing it with me!)
2. So MANY little kids at church today! It sure made the Hokey Pokey fun!
3. People recognizing all the things I'm up to behind the scenes at work.
4. Talking with Steve and Dana during the fellowship hour - so fun!
5. The hubby making our chili and cornbread so I could take a much-needed nap. Love him!
6. The team of ladies that helped with the dinner - I'm so grateful for their help!
7. Jennifer winning the chili-cookoff - she's been pretty intense about the competition! She deserved it!
8. Lots of great food!
9. A wonderful, uplifting meeting. So many great people, asking great questions, and sharing postitive observations.
10. Coming home, and feeling content. Life is good.