Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More blessed to give....

Of all my Valentine memories one particular one stands out in my mind. It is the story of Christ and the Church, as told by mere mortals one Valentine morning a few years back....

The churches I have fellowshipped with are very hands on kinds of groups. We have no pastors or local leadership therefore the spiritual life, direction, and ministry of the church is determined and carried out by we, the members. It is a lot of work and responsibility but very sustaining and encouraging. We get to experience first hand, the Body of Christ being built together in visible ways. For this particular Valentines Day the sisters in our church decided that we wanted to do something special for the brothers...a church Valentine, if you will.
We decided on a Sunday brunch. We would keep our plans a secret from the brothers, decorate one of our homes and prepare food, both physical and spiritual, to feed them. Each sister was responsible to bring, not only a portion of the meal and help with decor, but each one was also to come prepared to minister to the brothers in some way...be it a song, a poem, a prayer, some portion of scripture, an encouragement...it could be anything that would bless them or speak to them... Our plan for the meeting (and this was our Sunday meeting) was that we would act and speak as the Lord and treat our brothers as the Bride of Christ. After all, the Church is not referred to as a soldier or an army but She is referred to as a woman and a bride and how often does an average brother in the church have the opportunity to experience what it feels like to be a bride? How often do they get a glimpse into the feminine characteristices of God's house that come so naturally to women?
With this in mind we prepared a beautiful meal complete with sparkling cider, chocolates, flowers, music, candles...everything a woman enjoys for romance. We also prepared to speak to them as if they were the Bride of Christ and we were the voice of their Bridegroom.
We began by putting on some sweet music and gathering together for prayer, as sisters. Our brothers were asked to wait outside as they arrived until eveyone was present.... At the appointed time, we sisters flung open the doors and welcomed them in, singing as we escorted them to their seats. The brothers were immediately overwhelmed and the looks on their faces ranged from surprise to anticipation to awe to tears. It seemed our plan was working and a wonderful meeting was in store for the brothers.
The sisters rotated in serving and sharing so that all during the meal some sisters were singing, praying, or otherwise ministering. There was no chit chat and the atmosphere became more and more charged until no one was left unshaken, brother or sister...For an hour and a half nothing was spoken other than words of love, appreciation and encouragement straight from Jesus Christ for these men who made up the backbone of our church family. May I just say that the effect was profound.... some brothers ate, some couldn't eat a bite and some broke down completely, sobbing in their plates...It was amazing and I think I can say that each of us, brothers and sisters alike, felt as if we had entered a time machine and been transported outside of this realm to a place where God actually does dwell among His people and does speak to their hearts. He was most definitly there that day.
As we drew near the end of our time together, one sister was appointed to be the final contributor...as she finished her part she instructed the brothers to close their eyes and worship their King to a taped song...and as the brothers worshipped...the sisters slipped away...like thieves in the night...out of the house... leaving the brothers alone with their Lord....


*****************************

But that's not the end ......
In an unplanned moment, the sisters in the kitchen had gathered up the leftover fruit, bread, cheese, cider and chocolates...once outside on the sidewalk we unanimously decided on a meeting of our own...almost as if we were propelled...in one accord we headed down the street to the garage turned meeting room where we often met as a church, singing and practically dancing as we went. Once inside, we flung down blankets onto the floor and laid out the goodies for a sponteanous picnic. We laughed, we sang, we worshipped and shared....all was forgotten in the awesome presence of the Lord!
What a time of communion it became...a glorious outpouring of the love of God on us, the sisterhood! I'm not sure how you feel about the Lord's Table...but let me tell you, we were at it! He was there in power and glory pouring Himself out in each of us, on each of us. It was an amazing time of encouragement and love from the Lord Himself flowing into our hearts.
Though we had attempted to share the love of God with our brothers as from the Bridegroom to His Bride, we incredibly found ourselves on the receiving end as well, in a wonderful moment of communion with our Lord and with one another..... caught up in the greatest love affair of all!


...and perhaps the lesson learned for me that day was simply this..."it is indeed, more blessed to give, than to receive."



  • "He brought me to His banqueting
    table...His banner over me is
    love...."






16 comments:

Deborah and Sally said...

That gave me chills as I was reading it, that's so neat !!!!!
As I came to the end of it, I thought of how the the Lord fellowships from Him, through Him and back to Him.
What you described is almost like a visible "showing" of that.
Thanks for sharing that - it made my day !:)
Deborah

Margie said...

how wonderful!!!

KayMac said...

what an incredible testimony and witness. i was deeply, deeply moved. thank you.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

What a rich banquet of love!

An outstanding example of love!

Diane

Mrs. Mac said...

amazine story! enjoyed reading to the end!

everydayRANDOM said...

I can see how the men could feel completely overwhelmed. What a great celebration and what it means to celebrate the true meaning of having someone to share the day with rather than what I got for Valentines Day...

jayjay said...

Ah what beloved faces! Thank you for that glorious reminder and the photo. I was transported just reading about it. Happy Valentines Day.

Ame said...

OMW!!! this is absolutely incredible!!! thank you for sharing!!!!

Kim said...

What a wonderful valentine! From you and to you, by and through you.

Bek said...

Cheryl, this was such a magnificent story to read. what a wonderful picture of the church in action. and treating the men like the Bride of Christ that they are - SOOO powerful. i am sure the effects were FAR-reaching!!!!

Chel said...

What an awesome post and beautiful testimony of HIS love for HIS bride (both the sons & the daughters alike!) Thanks for sharing.

Deb said...

oh wow.

what an awesome time you all had in the presence of your Bridegroom!

...makes me think of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb --how glorious and unimaginably awesome that day will be!

thanks so much for sharing this with us!

Mema said...

Oh my goodness.....how wonderful for all of you to be such a blessing and to receive such a blessing.....makes me want to stand up and shout AMEN!!!

Joni said...

Thank you for sharing that incredible life lesson with us!

Barb said...

I think you've done it, Cheryl. I think you've published the PERFECT Valentine's Day post. Wonderful!

Gina said...

Wow, how amazing!! To think that we'll have banquets like this with Jesus and all our sisters and brothers for eternity!