Thursday, August 15, 2013

In the Company of the Body

I've grown accustomed to not being able to understand what is happening during the church services I attend. Mostly, it is because I am a visitor and only there for one or two services. Also, the services aren't usually in English. So even if the liturgy is familiar, the language isn't, which means that I miss things through out the service. So each Sunday morning I know that I am going to have an entirely different experience than most of the participants.

Sundays can be exhausting rather that filling. Sitting 2, 3, or even 5 hours only guessing at what is happening, drains you mentally. Constantly watching to see how everyone else re-acts to something so you know what to do. Do I sit or stand now? Are we praying? Is this the sermon or just announcements about this weeks potluck? What passage are they reading? Is that even the Bible? I imagine that this was a common problem for the early church. New believers being brought into the synagogue or assemblies each week and not understanding the words being spoken let alone all the actions and ritual. Perhaps this is exactly the situation that Hebrews 10:24-25 is speaking about. 

So when my friends who I was visiting in Vienna, Austria said, "Sorry, our German isn't up to translating for you during the service." I just smiled and tried to assure them it was fine. I said, "I'm used to it. I just enjoy being in the fellowship of the body." I could have dreaded that Sunday morning like any other with its confused state and asking all those questions again. Instead, I've learned to love watching these services, to see the kaleidoscope of God's people worshipping in different ways, to see and hear how they fellowship together. When I stop looking for something to edify me, but how these people are being grown and edified, the service becomes something else. I find myself asking questions like this. How do they express joy here? Do these people really love Jesus? How do I see that love? How is their heart shown when they sing, pray, read or dance? How does this body of believers reveal Jesus in it's fellowship?

I enjoy being in the fellowship of the body, because, even though I don't know what is being said and usually make a fool of myself by standing at the wrong time or singing during someones solo, the body is more than just a bunch of people. They make up the body of Christ. So why would I want to be any where else?

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