I have so much to say, I scarcely know where to start. All I can say is never underestimate the power of God.
K and I have been e-mailing back and forth the last several days in order to get the remaining articles on her site down. The exchange has only served to stir the hurt feelings that are still there. Church yesterday helped, but only a little.
This morning (Sunday) I got out of bed and somehow got dressed and on my way to City Church in San Francisco. I saw Janice, but she says she is now attending the early service, which I can't go to. Getting myself there between 11 and 11:30 is hard enough. 9:45 is nigh impossible. It's 90 minutes to the church by public transit, never mind how early I'd have to get up. Besides, from the second service I can leave directly for work; the timing is just better. I bet Carol is also attending the early service. So I will no longer see the only two people I know there. :(
However, I don't go to City Church for the fellowship. My home church fills that need. City gives me other things - upbeat music, good sermons, and communion nearly every week.
The service has changed a bit to add a bit more liturgy before the communion. It reminds me of the Episcopal church and so is quite welcome. They have also changed to "Guidelines for Reception of Communion", adding some things and changing the wording a bit. One of the additions hit me hard. Here are the guidelines, with the "ouch" part emphasized:
Communion, also called The Lord's Supper or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. We invite all committed followers of Jesus Christ to partake of this sacrament: those who are baptized members of a congregation which proclaims the gospel, who are at peace with God and with their neighbor, and who seek strength to live more faithfully for Christ. If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer using the prayers provided below as guidelines. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with His people, the church.
Reading that hurt. I had read it before the service and thought about it throughout. I did take communion. I sense grace in it, and that is something I am thirsty for. But God had coalesced what He has been trying to say to me: I need to make peace with K and co. by apologizing in an e-mail without "buts" or accusations.
This doesn't mean I can work with them, that I've managed to forgive them or anything else. It just means that this is what God wants me to do. I've been sensing a tug from the Holy Spirit lately, and this is just a BIG sign saying that I need to say I'm sorry, ask forgiveness, and move on.
I nearly cried during communion. I sit in the front of the church and am therefore one of the first people to get the elements. I sat in my chair while everyone else went forward and was simply overcome. I have screwed up in so many ways the last 5 weeks, and the last 5 months. I gave up a sin and received forgiveness, then went back to it and now must receive forgiveness again. I have been mean and nasty to fellow Christians and spoken things that, while maybe being true, have not been Christlike.
And yet...He calls me to the table to receive grace and forgiveness and restoration with Him. It cost Him everything, but He loves me that much.
After the service was over, I descended on the pastor. Pastor Harrell is a wonderful person who works very hard for his church. He commands respect, and yet is approachable. I told him how much that one line in the Guidelines effected me, and gave an EXTREMELY brief overview that I had been kicked out of the ministry I had worked with. I had messed up, harsh words were spoken on all sides...just the basic basics.
And he offered to pray for me. I don't even remember what all he said, but the offer of prayer for me right then and there really touched me. He put his hand on my shoulder, and I remember him asking God to give me the words and phrases to say, and asking for eventual reconciliation. Until he mentioned that, it never really occurred to me that that might happen.
So I left church with a sense of life being soft around the edges. The problems are all still there, and I am the same person that somehow dragged herself out of bed this morning, but church helps more than I can say. Never underestimate the power of God.
I thought about the apology I'll need to make all the way to work. I kept circling back to one word, what will be required to be gotten rid of to do this apology the way God wants: PRIDE. He wants me to go against all my natural instincts, and say what needs to be said, even though it will make them feel good and happy and me feel horrible.
I got to work and I had a few minutes before I started, so I opened up my Bible and my devotional so everything will be all ready when I read the Bible and pray on my way home. The title of the devotional was innocuous enough: "Hearts Lifted Up." Then my eyes fell on the little pithy sentence at the end of the reading that sums up the lesson: "You won't get indigestion by swallowing your pride." *SMACK* Hit again by God's "clue by four"!
So that's where I am. I am NOT saying that I'll be back at EW anytime soon, or ever. I'm NOT saying they are 100% right and I'm 100% wrong. I'm not saying anything about them. God will deal with them; I just need to learn to let go and hand it over. I need to say I'm sorry for MY part in the mess, irregardless of what THEY do. THAT is God's way. Too many times I have tried to do the Holy Spirit's job for Him, by telling them where they have failed. I need to leave them to Him, and move on.
I wanted to add one other thing, and that is that K is right about the blog. I don't know what I'm going to do exactly yet, but I will need to do something to take the EW entries out of public view. What form that will take I don't know yet, but it seems God is saying to me to not talk about them as I have, even if it's true. Truthfulness isn't the issue; Christlikeness is.
I don't know yet what all of this means. I'm still basking in the glow as I type this and don't know how I will feel tomorrow or the next day or the next as reality comes crashing back in. I just need to hold onto what God taught me today, and let it permeate my life.