The Lord’s Day
People all around us need to see the love of Christ. We hope they see its radiant projection through us, the local church.
It’s been a long time since I was without a church home. It was thirty-three years ago, in fact, when Lesli and I—newly married—wandered into a church in a foreign land.
We sat in the balcony, in the very back pew, feeling very alien. We spoke the same language . . . but, in many ways we didn’t. England was the Old World, and we had a lot of catching up to do.
There was a young family sitting next to us; four little children, all impeccably behaved. And after the sermon, the father and the mother—instead of rushing home for the children’s naps—stayed many minutes, asking us all sorts of questions, showing a real interest in us.
Then they did something not many parents of hungry and tired children do; they invited us home for dinner, where they and the children made us the focus of their attention.
Needless to say, we returned to that church the next Sunday, and were promptly invited to the home of another church family for Sunday dinner.
Not wanting to wear out our welcome, a few appropriate minutes after finishing dessert, we thanked them for a lovely time and made our way to the door. They responded, ‘Pity you have to leave so soon.’
We soon learned, after many invitations to dinner after church, that the Lord’s Day was the Lord’s Day . . . all of it. We learned that dinner was followed by a walk, by singing hymns at the piano, by a time of prayer, by tea, by going back to church for the evening service, and so on.
You spent all day together in Christian fellowship.
It was the Lord’s Day.
These people quickly became our family, as indeed they became the family of many others coming in from the cold. They mourned with us when Lesli lost her father. They celebrated with us when Matthew was born.
They arrived early for services to look for and greet guests, and to pray. They sang the songs as loud as they could (I could hear the singing two blocks away). They listened to seventy minute long sermons. Children were everywhere, and so were students: many of the brightest students in the world, attending the most prestigious university in the world, filled the pews early and stayed a long while afterwards. Students and young adults were a priority. There were lots of conversions, lots of baptisms.
We originally left America for a three year stint in Cambridge. We returned six and a half years later. The biggest thing we got out of England was not a degree, not a great cross-cultural experience, and not a worldwide set of acquaintances. The biggest thing we got was a family. A local church. God’s people, who to this day pray every week for our family and for our new church, Camelback Bible Church.
What a blessing to this foreigner.
Wherever you are, how can you become involved in your local church? That’s the means God has chosen to make your gifts a source of new life to the world.