WELCOME TO THE CHURCH IN LITHIA SPRINGS
"All progress in the Christian life is not dependent upon becoming somebody, but rather a matter of seeing who you already are in Christ Jesus."
EXPLORING THE MYSTERY
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD
She’s never been allowed to speak before. We are going to hear from the most beautiful girl in the world. She’s the most beautiful girl in the world, the most beautiful that ever has been or ever will be. So many people think they know her and don’t. In fact, they don’t even know she’s a she. They think she’s a building. We will not use the word that we’re familiar with. We’ll use her name – Christa. Know her as a person – fall in love with her. If you knew how beautiful she is, you’d put up your house for sale tomorrow, and you’d sell your farm. She’s the pearl of great price.
She is absolutely gorgeous.
Who is she?
She is known as Christa.
She also is known as Ecclesia.
Most of the New Testament was not written to you. It was written to that girl. How can anyone be so neglected? We live in a world where we are supposed to know the Bible, and most of the New Testament was written to THAT girl. Not written to you, written to that beautiful girl. Written to her, about her, and for her.”
THE STORY OF HER
Because we meet outside the organized church, we are sometimes asked what we do when we gather together. It is hard to answer that question, because every meeting is different. But here is a reflection that one sister wrote on a time together around the Lord that hopefully paints a picture of the church:
Reflection on a meeting
In a home, atop a small hill, reached by a long driveway overhung with bare branches of trees who have dropped their leaves for winter – met a group of believers drawn together by one thing: a desire to pursue the eternal purpose of the Father.
Gathering, each laid their offering upon the table to share … chicken alfredo, green salad, veggie lasagna, a bottle of wine, bread sliced and warm, cheese grits, cherry cobbler with toasted pecans … one saint started a song and the others joined in as they filled their plates. One song faltered, another was sung, the holy ones sat around a table and partook. Conversations flowed naturally – exploring one another’s history, current occupation, favorite food, with the Lord and His grace woven into the fabric of the evening like a gold thread highlighting a tapestry.
… call by Skype with saints in Holland, Jacksonville, Bournemouth, New Zealand …
As some gathered in the kitchen, speaking of suffering, loss, hardship, and the Lord’s provision, a group started a song in the living room. The brothers and sisters intertwined arms, sharing song books, passing along songs printed out and songs “google-translated” into Spanish for Javier – our new brother from Ecuador.
A sister, Jocelyn, from Montreal, now living in South Carolina, shared a song learned in a messianic community years ago … the saints sung it through over and over – practicing rounds, changing the “I” to “you” to “WE” – exploring our identity in Christ and our unity as the bride, His bride. A sister prayed … another song … the time stretching from minutes to a half hour … the clock unnoticed above the fireplace – continuing to mark the time in seconds and minutes as the Beloved stepped outside of time and space to fellowship in the eternals. A sister spoke from Colossians as the Lord, speaking to His church. Another song, a turning – to the Lord? to one another? Yes! To the Lord in one another.
The holy ones took seats, pulling chairs in closer together, handing across blankets, turning on the fan. Some sat on the floor. One stood and shared from the eternal perspective of our Father. One broke into cries and tears – of sorrow? of joy? Yes! The filling of the dry places. One by one the saints stood, speaking? reading? praying? Yes! Calling forth that very breath of God – breathing life and spirit into the ecclesia.
One spoke – another translated – for all to understand. There was laughter, nods and murmurs of understanding, agreements that those who know the Lord know suffering. Agreement that we need one another – that we cannot know Him, FULLY, alone. There were hugs – many hugs – another song – another testimony – a final song (for the second time J ).
The clock ticked – time and space calling the holy ones back through that door …