For most of my life the last thing that I would want to do on a Sunday morning when I was exhausted from a long and hard week was to go to church. I am an extrovert and people generally energize me. But there was something about going to church that always seemed a little overwhelming. I think a part of it was because I have been a leader in the church for a really long time. You see often when you’re a leader there is a level of expectation that comes with showing your face at church. You are supposed to have it all together. You’re supposed to be cheerful and full of life. Your children are supposed to be life giving to you. If you’re in full-time ministry then you are supposed to have lots of stories about how God has showed up in your ministry to do amazing things in your midst.
You know what? Many weeks when Sunday rolls around I don’t have great stories. My kids have driven me nuts all week. I don’t have it all together. Ministry has sucked the life out of me and I don’t know if God is even in the vicinity.
But, when the cheerful person next to you during the “stand and shake” or the “hug and tug” asks how you’re doing, they don’t really want to know all that.
Sometimes, many times, you’re just weary. You’re kind of done. You want someone to serve you for a change.
Amy and I often use Tuesday for a lunch date (that’s her off day and mine too, sort of). Typically as we decide where to go get lunch the top criteria, the highest value is that we want to go some place where we will be served. Because usually we just don’t have any serving left in us.
Last night at our gathering of The Antioch Movement I witnessed something beautiful. It’s something that I hope will always mark the movement in all its incarnations. One of our leaders arrived late. He lightly knocked and then…
He had been working hard all day and when he arrived his bride rushed to meet him before he even really got in the door, hugged him, and gave him a kiss. And then
he entered in…
His sons greeted him with hugs before he could reach the kitchen…
he entered in…
As he came into the kitchen he received a cold drink, a hot plate, and then a quiet moment…a deep breath…and good conversation.
By the time we again gathered around the table, this time for the Lord’s Supper, the countenance was less weary and more refreshed. Still tired, but there was a joyful relaxation. Over the course of an hour or so I watched this wonderful and dear brother be re-created before my very eyes. Because he…
There was no pretense, no mask. We gathered to pray, kids and all, it was remarkable. The prayers offered for one another were meaningful and heartfelt. They were honest and real. When we celebrated the Lord’s supper there was little conversation but much comfort and unity. The weariness from all of us had been lifted.
When we gather in missional community it is my hope that we will always gather this way. What is “this way”? It is the way of peace and community. Authenticity and reality. A way where the weary can take a load off and be re-created.
It’s funny, now when I’m weary I don’t want to cancel Sunday night. I want to guard it, defend it, make it happen at all costs because I know when I’m weary I can enter in and experience re-creation. It’s the beauty of whatever it is that God is building in the Antioch Movement.
I pray more and more that we will multiply these communities and people will find that their weariness can be lifted through relationship with Jesus and his people.