18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:8-20
We gathered at church (but not for church). We prayed at breakfast, “in Jesus’ Name”. Does that make breakfast church? We gathered at church to make a patio for church. Does that make the patio church? We gathered as brothers in Jesus Christ on a Saturday morning to eat and accomplish a task that can be used to build relationships and minister in Jesus’ Name. Does that mean we kept the Sabbath or broke the Sabbath? All I know is we were at the church (but not for church), and church was definitely happening!
In the assembly of the saints age didn’t matter; all were welcome and included. In the breaking of bread and the sharing of communion there was plenty for all with some sausage gravy and biscuits leftover. The fellowship of that sabbath has nourished me many times in the days that followed. The gifts and provisions of God were evident as those with skill guided those without, and those with strength carried burdens those with need could not. The young were taught and the aged found respect, and no one lacked for a purpose. The bond of love grew as jokes were told and wisdom was shared to the novice. Yes, church happened in Milford with 15 guys on a Saturday in September.
The memorial money that paid for this day of church is now part of our heritage. Left by a saint who has crossed over to wait in fuller fellowship with Jesus. I know that the money and the patio mean nothing to her, but to see her church gathered as the church of Jesus must mean a great deal. This church is her church, and our church, but mostly it is His church; always has been and always will be. Now we all wait to see what Jesus will do with His new patio and firepit. I hope it continues to be used as part of our heritage in building the church.
I barely needed to pastor any of the important work of the church that day, because the Holy Spirit was present and orchestrating all the really good stuff. Sure, I played my part even as I am doing now in writing. I cooked. I prayed. I led a brief devotional. I even placed a few of the patio pavers, but mostly I was just one of the guys as Jesus built His church of living stones. With all the ways we use the word church, it is awfully easy to forget that church sometimes happens when we just show up at church, even when it wasn’t for church.