The music played softly in the background; it's inviting tones welcoming people as they entered the sanctuary. People were hugging, exchanging greetings and smiles, finding seats and settling in for the morning service. Anticipation of the worship ahead hung in the air like a sweet summer dew. It was a good place to be. As I glanced around I noticed how some people struggled as they entered. I noticed the 18 year old boy who walked down the aisle supported on either side by his dad and his sister. He had been born with a twin brother 3 months prematurely. This boy survived with many health deficiencies and will never be able to talk or walk or eat on his own. He loves church. He especially loves the music. He worships by flailing his arms and beating on his chest with each deep note. I noticed the elderly lady in a wheelchair. How much easier it would have been for her to just stay home and not struggle with getting in and out of her car and having to navigate her wheelchair through the doors. I noticed another younger woman being pushed in her wheelchair by her young daughter. A woman who had been paralyzed from an accident many years before. I thought about how what she goes through to get ready to come to church each Sunday is much more involved that what I have to do. Yet she is always there. I noticed a man in the front row with his leg in a brace and bandaged from top to bottom. He was sitting sideways in the pew so he could rest his injured leg. He was just released from the hospital a couple of days ago, recovering from a motorcycle accident that has broken his body in ways that will take months to heal. Here he was in church at the first opportunity he had to get there.
So many broken people.
It occurred to me that these people all had outward signs of brokenness and I wondered how many other broken people were sitting in that room that morning who were inwardly broken. People with broken hearts, and broken lives, and broken feelings and thoughts and circumstances. Because we live in a broken world we all have brokenness in our lives.
So many broken people.
And we were all in that place that morning to worship the Creator who heals, restores, and binds up the broken. We were not forgotten that morning. We sang with all the breath in our lungs. We met at an altar of prayer and met with our Lord and He ministered to our brokenness; seen and unseen. We heard anointed words from our pastor as he shared God's incredible message of hope with us. Words written in scripture hundreds of years ago came alive as it inspired us with promise and purpose. Encouragement was given each other as we loved on each other and supported each other just as Christ asked us to do.
As we left the doors of the church that morning, we entered back into our broken world with our broken situations still in front of us. But is was different now. We were stronger, surer, and more purpose driven. For we had met with the One who promised:
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds - Psalm 147:3