The two men taking up our Sunday offering aren’t elders or deacons. They aren’t pastors or teachers. One of them probably doesn’t know the bible is divided into Old and New Testaments.
He is the young one. The other man is at the tail end of the baby boom generation. John’s shirt sleeves are rolled up revealing his tattooed forearm.
They move up and down the aisles passing the plate, sometimes pausing to make change. There have been times in both of their lives they wouldn’t be trusted with money and I don’t think this is lost on them.
A band has formed among this group of addicts and alcoholics. It probably started on the smoke deck, one musician finding others. Or maybe in the dining room or when one heard another picking on an acoustic guitar in the chapel. They’re metalheads and rockers and have known little of church and its music, new or old. The first song they played on Sunday was the closest they could find to what they thought would fit in church. The amps and distortion turned up as the lead sang out, “Oooh-oh-oh, heaven let your light shine down”. (Shine Down, by rock group Collective Soul.)
They’ve played Knocking on Heaven’s Door and Tears In Heaven and some original songs they’ve written with words leaning more toward a Saving God.
We’ve been in this area of ministry 13 years and I never tire of hearing them encourage one another. It never gets old seeing their comfort in this gathering for worship that in a traditional setting can easily become rehearsed. I think some may not know what a testimony is when we have this time of sharing but they’ll stand and offer from an honest place both struggles and triumphs.
Though scripture is read, prayers prayed, hymns sung and testimonies shared, there is no official membership in this church. Some who have completed this 6-month program come back to worship with us. They come back to encourage others and strengthen their souls. They come back as one beggar showing another where the bread is. That is the membership required for this fellowship of the broken.
You can read the rest as I join with Lesley at Life in the Spacious Place, sharing God’s redemptive work.