Over the last several days I’ve had a series of experiences that have reminded me of the incredible importance of life in the Body of Christ. When I encounter friends from my past and present ministry, one of the first things I want to establish with them is whether or not they are actively involved in some sort of consistent fellowship.
The reason for those queries is not because it’s something they “ought to do”; rather, it’s because all of us need the support of the Body of Christ in our lives even though there may be some seasons where we seem to be doing fine on our own.
Consider, in these past five days, that I spent several hours with hundreds of other believers who came around the Madia family as they remembered the life and legacy of love of Jean Marie Madia who left our world far too early but now sits with Jesus in the heavenly places receiving her eternal reward. What struck me in that time was just how important having people of faith surrounding the family really is.
On Monday we spent the evening with Lisa and Alfredo Anderson-Umana and their family and about 70 or so people who represent hundreds who have supported Lisa in her nearly 30 years of ministry in Latin America through Christian Camping International. To see not just the reach of Lisa’s ministry to hundreds of thousands of campers over the years, but also the beautiful family she has raised in the midst of these challenges was awesome.
On Tuesday I learned of a close friend and his wife who have encountered something that all of us who are married seem to inevitably discover: the intimate relationship of two people over a life of experiences can produce some very difficult times. I’m blessed to do what I can to come around this couple and cover them with grace and love so that the resurrection power of Jesus might make some things new and desirable once again.
Wednesday was really the capstone of the past five days as I participated in the Senior Luncheon at North Way Wexford, which is a ministry that my wife, Carol, has spearheaded for well over a decade. With help from dedicated partners such as Kathy Bain and Susie McCabe and some very devoted volunteers, the ministry now set a new mark of 125 Seniors who enjoyed an incredible experience of fellowship together, a declaration of worship, a stirring testimony from Daniel & Jessenia Bain who will be returning to Nicaragua in less than a month to renew their ministry to the children of that deeply troubled nation. The meeting was highlighted by a creative and deeply insightful teaching by Pastor Billy Bob White about the source of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Billy Bob was his normal energetic, humorous, and engaging presence but he added a dimension of honor to the many people in the room who are a generation older than he and who have learned much in their journey with Jesus.
I necessarily will leave out a number of my own personal exchanges, some of which were really uplifting and a couple of which challenged me.
The point is that in just five days I had at least a half a dozen significant experiences where the Body of Christ demonstrated love, support, encouragement, compassion, faith, and generosity in a way that will undoubtedly help sustain hundreds of other believers as they journey through life and it’s many opportunities and challenges.
Let’s take the mystery out of it. We need each other in the Body of Christ and I’m so thankful that we’re part of a church family where these opportunities abound.