As long as I can remember, as long as I’ve been on this earth, Sunday has been a day of gathering.
Born into a church family from a church family, born to preacher parents, all other days pointed to Sunday.
We gathered Sunday clothes and Sunday books, Sunday people and Sunday dinner. The doors opened wide on our little churches begging for a bigger gathering of people week after week.
Sunday was the day we all got up with the same purpose, same intention, same schedule. And somehow, we got there without contention and we got there early, amen and thank you Jesus.
Sunday is where I learned beauty isn’t always external or pretty. There was the Sunday beauty of Billy, an older man who sat at the organ every week, shoes off with his socked-feet on the pedals, greeting everyone who walked by.
Billy was different. I never heard the real story but the mark on his head seemed to confirm a head injury of some kind. His was an awkward beauty, best seen when looking back and realizing his testimony was his faithfulness.
Beauty in the kids squirming about and the homeless man who wandered in, welcomed by Ed, stone cold deaf but it never stopped him from nodding in agreement with whatever was said that he never heard.
It was one of our pastors at our long time church who had the courage to cancel Sunday night service one year on Mother’s Day. It was all our group of peers could do not to stand up and let out a hearty cheer for his sheer bravery. The pastor said, seemed like this was a good day to gather with our families.
Turned out that was a test and not long after, we stopped having Sunday night church all together. We didn’t stop gathering. Relationships were strengthened in those afternoons on the tennis court or a cookout with friends. Our families grew together watching our kids play. Fellowship beyond the church doors made it a lasting beauty.
Today it’s me and the preacher-man doing the gathering of stuff Sunday mornings; sermon notes, laptop for media, prayers for everything. It’s the two of us gathering an extended family of men stained with the disease of addiction, many struggling still and even in struggle we see how beauty doesn’t give up.
We will gather songs and words and hearts along the way. We will pray our sinful lives will be restored and we thank God for recovering the beauty he made in us all along.