With the mid morning sun illuminating the stained glass windows, one by one adults and children entered the sanctuary and took their places in the pews. Some entered alone, some entered as a couple and some entered as a family. Some came as part of a weekly routine, some came as part of familial expectation and some came to take part in worship. Each one came with a story to tell; each one came with a heart that needed to be filled.
The young woman entered alone. There was an expression on her face that had not been present before. It was one of relief and expectation, perhaps a bit of excitement. She took her place in the usual spot. The pews were still a bit unoccupied at this pre-service moment. Surprisingly she chose to sit by a lady already seated; often the number of attendees brings these two in close proximity, close enough to exchange pleasantries. Today, she entered and smiled at the lady as if in relief and gladness to see her and she deliberately sat with the lady and began to chat. She chatted away as if the two were close friends and without guardedness or formality. As she shared her story, she revealed a heart that had been seared by the revelation of infidelity and shocked by the realization of a spouse with drug dependence. Divorce is in process as well as shared parental custody.
When the ushers came forward to collect the offering, they walked by a young couple sitting mid way back, tucked into the crowd as if not to draw attention to themselves. They were young indeed, most probably in their teens or barely of “legal age”. Their bodies were facing the other and pressed tightly against each other. Their playful antics and body language indicated familiarity and ease of touching. Their delight with each other superseded awareness of their surroundings.
When the pastor assumed his place in the pulpit, the congregation settled quietly, expectantly and reverently. The special music had brought an element of praise and hope and invigorating spirit to the young and to the old, to the pastor and to the parishioners. The message of treasures and investments of the heart was delivered with conviction and with transparency. The message was delivered with accountability for yesterday, with Truth and commitment for today and with hope for tomorrow.
The middle-aged couple sat closely together yet turned toward the pastor. Their shoulders were overlapping with her right shoulder and arm resting on the left side of the husband’s chest and torso. A discerning eye could detect the slightest rise and fall of her arm with the rise and fall of his chest with the inhale and exhale of his breath. His legs were crossed and her hand rested in place by his knee. Their movements mirrored the other but their posture reflected respect for others. They were at ease with each other and at ease with being part of the fellowship.
When the Sunday School teacher brought forth the lesson, the class opened a new curriculum that began today. All were familiar with the story when time and relationships were brought to life and set in motion. The teacher shared insights with awareness and with sensitivity, with assurance and with wonder of the security and the sovereignty of Perfect Love. Some of the class sipped coffee and listened quietly, some smiled and nodded in recognition of the words of Knowledge and Truth and some shared from personal experience.
As each of us has a story to tell, so do our relationships. Our relationships reflect certainty of intimacy or a lack thereof. Familiarity may be indicative of accessibility to intimate places of the mind, body and/or heart and not an indication of certainty of intimacy. Our words and our actions tell the story for us. But whatever the story may show, each of us has a heart and a soul longing for the certainty of intimacy, longing to be filled with Love.