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Homeless Man

     I had a plan.  It was a plan that seemed reasonable and efficient.  During this season of wandering, I would simply go church to church to see what God was doing in the area.  I would come as a student, an undercover pastor watching what was given away in the name of the Lord.  I had my list all set out for the next 2 months.  I would learn much.  I’d meet some of the family.  I would have a place to worship on the Lord’s day.

    Alas, my plan had a fatal error.  My plan was to GO to church instead of BEING the church.  Let me elaborate.

    Sunday used to be my favorite day of the week.  That’s when I would see my family.  When I raised up song and offering to the God I love.  When I would open the scriptures and proclaim God’s holy word.  Where I would get hugs and give hugs.  Where we would laugh and sing and cry and pray.  My kids would go to the nursery where they would be loved and invested in.  They would see their friends and come home with their little souls full.

    But these last few weeks… Sunday has become my least favorite day of the week.  I go to places where I am unknown and unloved.  Every week the kids go into foreign settings and sit alone in a corner or play by themselves.  There are no hugs and few smiles.  Because I am a stranger.  I’m not a brother or a friend.  I’m a face in the crowd.

    And something clicked.  “There is no way I can do this for 2 more months.”  The thought was loud and clear.  I can’t merely stand on the outside looking in.  I need a family.  We need community.  We need a place where we can be hurt and tender and unafraid.

    A brother in Christ warned me of this danger.  “The people you have served are not replaceable and will be a huge empty spot.  Try to stay planted.  We have yet to find a church after all this time.  Don’t let that happen to you.”

    I believe in the church.  I love God’s church.  I am learning that I need God’s church.  This holy community is where God does His holy work of both in the soul and in the world.

    So, I have gone to a pastor and asked if my family could take refuge in the church for this next season.  He invited us in.  And I am so grateful to have a place where we can belong.  We will not wander in the wilderness alone. 

    For those out there who have found yourself without a church family; who have been hurt, or moved to a new town, or just slowly drifted away… to you I speak.  Get plugged in.  Find a family.  Put down some roots.  It is one of the places where God does most of His molding and making.  We were not meant to do this thing called life alone.

A fellow traveller on the way,

Ernesto Alaniz