Sunday, February 17, 2013

"I want Christ's Community!"

It was a frosty 28 degrees this morning, yet a young woman in faded blue jeans and a gray quilted jacket stood outside as a greeter. Charlie and I were given a cheerful, bright smile and welcome as we approached the entrance of Christ Community Church. Once inside, Charlie felt fully at ease to enthusiastically introduce himself to complete strangers. He explained that he was a visiting professor from China, that he was quite familiar with Christian churches, and, gesturing to me, stated that I was his guardian angel. Many people at CCC know me and glanced a wry smile at me...they know that I don't quite make the grade as an "angel."

Christ Community Church as a body of Believers is as unique, when compared to other area churches, as Charlie is as a Chinese among Americans. Charlie looks different, sounds different, and sees and responds to the environment differently. So does CCC. From the moment you walk through the doors there is a pervasive atmosphere of fabulous difference. The spiritual ethos and culture of this faith community seems to bring all your senses to full alert. It is very much like stepping into a foreign, but warmly welcoming, country.

Charlie felt welcome, safe, and at home before he verbalized it. But verbalize it he did. During the time of worship through music, Charlie held nothing back. He didn't know the tunes, but he called out the words. Time and again, he pulled up the translator on his phone, looked up a word, and then heartily nodded in agreement, or spoke out an affirming "Yes!" I tried my best to take in the wonder of all that I was seeing, and Charlie was experiencing, through the tears that distorted my vision.

Sandy sat to my left and was fully engaged in the worship, and to Sandy's left were our good friends, David and Denise. It was the first time we had sat in church together for nearly 5 years. There was a palpable sense of the comforting and encouraging presence of God.

When the service concluded, Charlie told me that he didn't want to visit any more churches. I love the way he communicated it to me. "Bill, I want to come to Christ's Community from now on." 


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