“If I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God.” ~ Oswald Chambers
Hi. My name is Erika Lynn Morrison. I have been intentionally engaged with the activity and developement of a post-congregational Christian community for the last 13 years of my life and I say it to you like a confession lest I forget that this expression was the bosom at which my faith nursed – where the Spirit cradled my transformation through daylight and dark, night watches; crooned over my broken skin and my blooming heart. It was a beautiful way to grow, the milk was nutrient-dense and precisely what I needed to strip, stand and stretch. I learned how to toddle and walk and say, “Daddy” all over again before He taught me my own signals and sounds, the specific language He wanted me to speak – not at all a prescriptive word-power for the Christian course, but new abstractions from what had become tired and old.
(Can we all admit that our faith-speak has become–and is–old sometimes? That we’ve lost originality, even while serving an infinitely original God?)
All this cultivation came to pass under the careful watch and with the continual conversation of 20 or so other people who were going through the same growing strands and strains that I was. My God, this decade-plus was a good and dangerous delight (when that decade-plus wasn’t so busy being very damn hard).
My husband and I always thought that this would be how we’d live out the rest of our Christian days, being a lighted-window for this small way of doing life in Christ. I to the E: we never in a world full of decades dreamed that our family would be engaging consistently with organized church again . . . Until the fate-full day when the Spirit prompted us to do specifically that. And when I say “prompted”, what I really mean is: we were Divinely influenced with what felt like the strength of 100 wild horses behind the pinkie-finger of God.
And this is how it all went down.
We arrived to a Sunday morning congregant gathering called City Church, my beloved lady-friend (also the pastor’s wife) asked if our family would celebrate with them for their one-year anniversary and we don’t often say “no” to a party. Blissfully and blithely we whistled our way to church that early autumn day, totally clueless to the possibility that this party would dramatically change our current trajectory . . .
There was an elevated holiness to the room right from the moment we wandered through the doors and we could taste that the air had been artfully cooked; the soul of the service had been thoughtfully and lovingly prepared like a Spirit-feast for all the people to savor. Surprisingly, we ate that soul-food right up and it nourished us in places we didn’t even know were famished. Close to halfway through song-worship, Austin and I slanted toward one another at precisely the same time and simultaneously spoke, “I feel like we’re supposed to come here”. And I’m going to tell you that my body reacted all over the place to this unexpected revelation (it always does that when I really need to pay attention, listen and be obedient – regardless of how I might feel otherwise). Right there with the speckled-red auditorium carpet under my feet, the emotions inside me began laddering thickly up my throat and my wee heart took to flipping real fast, sending a warm burn signal to the back of my neck, next to the tingles running roughshod all over my skin. And that was how we knew that the prompting was not of our own conjuring – not just by all the sensations ricocheting helter skelter, but because we were totally blindsided by the desire to participate and partake of something we’d previously no unction towards choosing. And that desire was mutual. The Spirit spoke to the Mr. and I in synchronized suggestion and who can argue with that? When the Spirit wants to get a message across, sometimes that supernatural Being is sure to make it clear – just for all your rainy, doubt-full days.
We’ve been shaken and stirred with this church for nine weeks now and I’m not going to lie: we are all kinds of tender from the unexpected twists and tourniquets these last months have targeted on our hearts. Yet, our whole family has been profoundly blessed and nurtured by the manifest presence of the living God this passionate medly of Jesus-people invite into their space and our city. And we don’t know all the why’s and what-fors; the reasons we are additionally shouldering and covenanting with a whole new fellowship of humanity, but I do believe that God is up to something mighty big and that “something” has to do with us–together–achieving our destinies for the Kingdom.
So, can I tell you again? Why we’re going back to church? Because there is something important that we’ve learned in the process of going from one spiritual expression to another and it’s this: No matter where or how or when we do or go to church—whether it’s around the autumn firepit in our backyard or at the downtown soup kitchen or in the auditorium of the local arts high-school—how we feel about what kind of church we participate in doesn’t really seem like the point to us anymore (that season has passed). In our heart of hearts it has all boiled down to simply and always and only about being obedient to the call of Christ in our lives.
Our deepest daily supplication to God is, “Thy. Will. Be. Done.” (And I believe He’s been taking us at our word.)
Because where His is will is, is going to be the place where we farm the most fruit and where our souls are the most fed and now more then ever before we don’t have time to examine, weigh and compare all the different techniques there are to having church and which ones we want to commit to based on what makes us feel happiest and most comfortable. This doesn’t mean we’ve turned our brains off, it just means that we only have enough minutes in our short and precious lives for being the most obedient we can. And every time I turn back to look at the pages of our story, I see that it was our obedience which delivered us into circumstances that became pinholes through which we saw the face of God.
Also? Glory be, it is some kind of Face to behold.
Post By :: Erika Morrison