LUNGe Forward Walk. We are not normally a group that is too keen on community fitness events. However, today was different. We were walking for our friend, Sheree. So, we had on our active wear, our walking shoes, and our church t-shirts...and our coffee was already in "to go" cups. We prayed a short prayer on the side porch and loaded into our cars for the drive.
Just when we thought the rain might hold off, the bottom fell out of the sky! Rain came down by the buckets! Visibility was bad, and we started to have second thoughts on our very noble plans of walking. But, the parking garage was easy to find, and more importantly, a parking space was easy to find! We put on our ponchos and jackets, and with umbrellas in hand, we walked out into the rain to find the registration tent. After getting our free t-shirts and race numbers, we stood around...still raining. We visited the porta-potties...still raining. We found Sheree's team tent and put our new shirts in a bag to keep them dry, and then we stood some more...still raining. It was then that Sheree's sister walked over to say "hello" and to give us the surprising news that Sheree had come to the walk.
That news was like a break in the clouds and a bright ray of sunshine for us. It was the boost we needed to stop feeling sorry about our sopping socks! We immediately left our puddles and went to find Sheree - she was hanging out in the survivor's tent, and she looked great and even seemed happy to see us with our bad hair and muddy shoes! So we posed for pictures and visited for a little while, and then the walk started.
But, with Sheree there, we felt a particular determination and we didn't mind the rain. In fact, it almost felt cleansing. In fact, it felt like an honor to walk for our friend. In fact, it felt like...church.
Church is a beautiful thing. Church is standing out in the rain and being soaked by friendship that is spirit-driven. Church is your heart being lifted simply because someone else's heart is lifted. Church is stepping out of your comfort zone to do good in the world. Church is the healing that comes from laughter and knowing you are loved. Church is the connection we have with each other through God that starts before birth and never ends. Church is the presence of God fully recognized in each other's eyes. Church is all that and more.
So, we had church in the rain today. We "passed the peace" as we walked with each other. Although we had no Table, we still managed to experience communion with pizza and bottled water. And, believe me, the Spirit was there. Yes, the Spirit was there.