This past year has been filled with many stories—not my own.
Though serving in a ministry that is predominantly story-telling, 2013 had me listening—a lot. Traveling around the US & Canada, the year quickly became a time of profound community, as I transitioned from being a blur, a faceless nomad, a speaker hired for an hour and never seen again, to a sister, a friend, and a member of many communities.
In the midst of these newfound homes, I became incredibly encouraged about the Bride of Christ. These communities all come from different cultures, races, social classes and backgrounds, and different denominations. I heard stories from 10-year-old girls in the Midwest who overcame addictions to cutting, to East Coast couples in their 30s and 40s once unable to have kids and now being blessed with adoption opportunities & pregnancies, to Southern 70-year-old men who just committed their life back to Jesus and reconnected with their 50-year-old kids. And interwoven within every story was the same basic outline:
“I was broken. Then there was Jesus. Now I’m not.”
There was no pride. No sense that it was their specific practice, denomination, logistical method, or superior thought that led them to this place. In fact, they didn’t even have the time—or care to push an agenda or institution. They all had the same sense I now feel today—what has restored each of us is what connects us, and what connects us is Jesus. He is the thread that binds us—what made us individually and what pieces us together. And nothing is more important than what He has done. Nothing is worth talking about more.
The Bride is becoming more unified.
I know it. More and more people, pastors, and churches don't care about pushing their personal agendas, or promoting their specific Sunday-morning church meetings, and instead, care passionately about being a part of God’s Church-- capital C, the body of believers worldwide, and just pointing people to Jesus. Walls that used to separate us are falling. Though we used to think we all had our own stories, our own institutions, and our own religious cliques, the truth is that as we look upward, we realize we’re not too different. Really, we’re all... desperate. More than wanting to being right, or superior, we are hungry to know all God truly is, and to love people the best we can. More than the walls that separate us, we want the thread that binds us, and we want to add others on.
May we share our story with more people. And may we take more time to listen to others. It’s encouraging. It’s unifying. It creates a world without strangers. And though we are all different stories, we are all really sharing the same story—of a love that is without prejudice, without hatred, and without condemnation, a love that is healing, and welcoming, redemptive, and life-giving. Join me and our brothers and sisters worldwide in contributing to the Church’s outline, our common story—we all tend to go a little something like this: “I was broken. Then there was Jesus. Now I’m not.”