With our journey of visiting fifty-two churches over, I can reflect more on the complete experience. Today, I’ll add to my thoughts about Church #3.
This church set a fine example in how they confronted tragedy in an honest way. I’m encouraged to see the church function as a church should, grieving together and supporting each other. In the days after our visit, I prayed for this congregation, their pastor, and the family in the midst of heartbreak.
On a personal level, I wanted to return to experience a normal service, but after a while, I realized this wasn’t necessary. I’d already seen them for who they are, not from a typical Sunday but from a remarkable one. Their character emerged out of calamity, shining as a bright beacon of hope, pointing us to God.
My memories of this church are bittersweet and the lesson they modeled is profound. More churches need to deal with pain in a forthright manner, not glossing over it, ignoring it, or wallowing in it, but by being real.