I have been travelling, and loved it. Recently I watched some swallows going in and out of a nest, so graceful in their flight, playing and dancing and darting about. They looked so free, and their nest was the centre of the action.
It reminded me of the verse in the psalms, in psalm 84 about God’s house; ‘ the bird has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young.’ Psalm 84 talks about how the house of God can be a place of the presence of God, a place of safety and worship.
It got me thinking however, about how many people have not found the church to be like this. Over the years I have met so many people who have been let down by the church, and hurt by the people in it.
I know some people find me difficult, and I apologise to anyone who I have hurt, or forgotten something important. I am so very human, and I grieve over mistakes I have made.
Church families are very human too. Often we are trying our best, but when personalities disagree, or there is conflict, we sometimes forget the ways of Christ, to pray, to talk, to seek forgiveness, to be peacemakers. And even when we try, sometimes with the best will in the world it doesn’t work out. We don’t know each other’s stories, we can judge the other harshly but excuse ourselves. And it is so very painful.
Whatever happens in a church, the most important thing is that we know that God’s love for us is unchanging, that He looks at us with eyes of mercy, and that because of Jesus Christ He forgives us for our faults, and welcomes us into His family. God is always faithful, He does not turn us away. He welcomes us with open arms. And this never changes
Gracious God, Your house in meant to be a place of safety, love and blessing. Forgive us when it becomes a place of hurt and pride and judgement. Forgive us when we hurt others or turn them away. Teach us to live differently. Lord Jesus bind up the wounds of the spiritual casualties around us, people who feel rejected and unvalued from experiences in churches. Holy spirit please be at work in our churches and communities to that people know how much You love them, and that they can find healing and peace in You. May every person have an encourager alongside, to remind them that they are seen and loved, for Lord Jesus, this is why You came, Amen.