This is prompted by two separate things. One convicting and one refreshing!
1. This blog entry from Desiring God this week with a great quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It fits in fairly well with the quote from the Uniformity with God’s Will from yesterday.
If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.
This applies in a special way to the complaints often heard from pastors and zealous members about their congregations. A pastor should never complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men.
. . . let [the pastor or zealous member] nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of the congregation before God. Let him rather accuse himself for his unbelief. Let him pray God for an understanding of his own failure and his particular sin, and pray that he may not wrong his brethren. Let him, in the consciousness of his own guilt, make intercession for his brethren. Let him do what he is committed to do, and thank God.
Life Together, trans. John W. Doberstein, (New York: HarperOne, 1954), 29.
2. We had a wonderful workday at church today. We have been preparing for construction for almost a year now and at times it’s felt like the work would never actually start. And it’s a little complicated because we have a short 3 or 4 week project to install an elevator before the real destruction/construction starts. A few months ago we had a workday to do some packing and cleaning out of closets to prepare storage space. We had a great crew and got a ton done.
Today was a date guessed at by the deacons a month ago and it turned out perfect. Work on the elevator gets serious Tuesday. And we are ready for it! We got 98% of the stuff in the part of the building that will be renovated/expanded cleaned out and put into storage, leaving just enough for our fellowship time Sunday mornings the next few weeks.
Another benefit to workdays is you get to spend time getting to know other people in the church. We had 3 women working hard at the nursery cleaning and moving, with various men carrying things in and out. We had another 2 women packing up the dishes and pots and pans in the kitchen. Then we had the men helping each other with taking things down, dismantling fans, moving furniture. There is more fellowshipping going on than many realize when you do these things.
My role this year has been different. I’ve been a major decision-maker and director so I spend a lot of time answering questions, walking around to look at things and offer an opinion, and keeping track of where it all is going. So while I haven’t been able to just hang out in one place with a few people and enjoy working together, I have been able to get a peak at all the other groups working together and it’s fun.
This is family, and it’s good to be together and to work together and tomorrow we all get to worship together. Right now it is very easy to be in “the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed” and this is a time to remember when it is hard or messy or discouraging.