Who was in Church where I attended yesterday…

Went to church on Sunday here in Western Montana… None of the religious elite were there… looked to me like a pretty mixed crowd of common folk… some probably even came from marginal backgrounds and from what I heard, some even had a checkered past. Quite a mixture of humanity. Most of them really seemed to love the Lord though. A few others who were there though just seemed to be there checking things out…

Historically that’s what the true community of Christ followers has been like…

Today, in my Bible reading during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read a passage that seemed to confirm that assessment…

Jesus had been having an ongoing discussion with the religious elite… They had accused and criticized Him for everything from ceremonial hand washing to Sabbath breaking (because he healed a few sick people on the Sabbath day) … They cared more about their liturgy than the needs of people… So Jesus told them a story… He said, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to makes excuses… (every excuse under the sun!) Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city and bring in the poor and crippled and bind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you have commanded has been done, and still there is room!’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled!” (from Luke 14:16-24)

Gotta tell you, from the looks of things yesterday at church, that is who was there… not the religiously elite. Apostle Paul observed, “Consider your calling, brothers [and sisters]: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. [Notice he didn’t say, “not ANY – but not MANY”] Instead God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord!’” (from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31) And Peter echoed the idea… To a bunch of “exiles from the Dispersion” he said, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people! But now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy!” (from 1 Peter 2:9-10)

So for this farm kid from Western Montana, when I gathered in the little church I attended yesterday near a place called Hungry Horse, Montana, and saw who was there I thought to myself, “You know, I think I am among those that the Lord’s servant called from the highways and hedges! In fact, I am one of them! I don’t really deserve to be here, but I was invited (in some cases almost “compelled” by the Holy Spirit) to be included!”

I don’t know where the religiously elite were yesterday… But where I went to Church – where I gathered with fellow Christ followers – I sensed the presence of the Living God there! Grateful to be included!

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