“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” -Herman Melville
Nearly 11 years ago I started a normal day. I was actually writing a blog post. My infant son was a bit fussy so I nuzzled my bible beside him in his carrier and he settled down to sleep. Later we ended up snuggling on the couch for our last moment together on earth.
I had no idea when I laid him down that he would be gone when I came back.
After the 911 call, the ambulance ride, the emergency room’s frantic rush to save him, he was pronounced dead.
I stood in the hallway of the ER and the entire world stopped. I stood alone in that moment of time, unsure of literally what was the next step to take. I was lost in that hospital hallway. Did I just walk out of there with out my baby? Was there something I needed to do? Where was I supposed to go? How could I get out of that place and this moment?
I was directed to a room with my husband. We talked to the Sheriff who would investigate the scene. We were free to go. But where? Where do you go after your baby just died?
A nurse escorted us to a conference room where at least 50 people were gathered.
It was our church.
On a Friday night, in a hospital conference room, my people came to me. They wept with me. They held me. They sat in sorrow with me. They served me. They carried me, not just that night, but for the next weeks and months that followed. The church came to me and stayed with me.
It’s no surprise that as soon as God created Adam he said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” It isn’t good. In fact it’s an awfully dark place to be alone.
When Jesus started his ministry he assembled community. Matthew 4:18-22
When he left the earth he commanded community. Matthew 28:18-20
God knows what we need. He knew life in the fallen world would be so hard. We don’t just need church because it’s a check mark on the list of duties. We need church because life is hard and it is God’s extension of his love and grace and compassion on his children as he brings us home, with him, where we are supposed to be.
Please my friend, don’t just go to church. Build a tribe. Build a community of people who yield to the Holy Spirit, who are passionate about Jesus, who long for heaven with a deep ache.
These are the people to do life with. These are the people who will carry you through the valley. They will celebrate your victories and grieve your losses. They will hold your hand as you cross Jordan and walk with you into the Promised Land. This is church.
That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:25-27