We sang one of my favorite songs at church yesterday: Awake, My Soul by Mumford and Sons. And while I always love this song, it was especially meaningful yesterday as we sang the line, "Where you invest your love, you invest your life."
For the last six and a half years, my family has invested our love and our life in our little church, The Exchange. And the people in the church have likewise invested in us and each other.
At the very first service I attended back in the beginning of 2007, the message was
about the two great commandments: loving God and loving others. And all
along, the church's mission has been to help people take their next step
toward God, whatever that step may be.
And boy, has this church ever lived out those beliefs.
Over and over I have seen God's love in little ways and big ways. Over the years, the people in this church have pulled together to provide money to meet the needs of those who are struggling. We have signed up to bring a week's worth of meals to new parents after the birth of a baby. There has been emotional support for people who are going through divorce, addiction, depression, and doubt. People have come to us discouraged, angry, and scarred from their past church experiences, and they have found a place of healing and hope. Each of us are different people than we were when we first started attending. We have grown in love, faith, and community. We have all been ministered to and we have all ministered to each other.
And yesterday, The Exchange met together for the last time.
Many of us felt that this particular ministry had run its course. Yesterday's service was a celebration of how we have been loved and healed through this church, and it was a commissioning of sorts. I believe the people in our little church have experienced an amazing, loving community-- and now it is time for us to branch out and bring the love, grace, compassion, and healing we have experienced to the people we meet in other churches. So while I am certainly sad about the loss of our regular Sunday gatherings, I have to admit I am awfully excited about the opportunities before each of us.
May we each go forward and invest our love and our lives in other people-- not just in our churches, but at our jobs, at school, and anywhere else we may go. May we always reflect God's love to the people we come across as we love the way we have been loved. May we show grace and compassion to those who are struggling and suffering. May we be an encouragement to others. And may others know we are followers of Christ by our love.