The universe is not kind this side of Eden and it makes cripples of all God’s children.
And I have seen how pain cripples like arthritis, gnarled hands shut tight around love…but not here.
These two have fought like the newly uncocooned, beating their wings to dry them…the hard work of the free.. Hands free of everything but Love Himself.
And those who have been broken, then splinted and healed learn how not to be stingy with God.
And I was a witness.
I watched them etch vows into the face of the universe.
I watched her throw her head back in laughter so that her dress glimmered around the rough cobblestones.
And I watched as she broke off pieces of the bread Gabe had gone just minutes ago to the bakery to buy. Round. Golden. Fresh.
The pastor blessed, broke and invited and then Stephanie and Matt turned around and offered Jesus first to me and then to 249 more.
I circled around and stood witness just to the side and behind, full of the mystery and watching each row empty, eager, walk single file with hands open.
I witnessed the empty hands held out, eyes opened wide.
Then, I caught my breath.
Stephanie’s words of “the Body of Christ, the bread of heaven” somewhere morphed and I started seeing tears streaming, lips mouthing “I love you, too.”
She was handing out Jesus with love.
I love you, bread torn and then the tears would flow…acceptance at the altar. Spirit spreading, Love broken and distributed. 250 people weeping thanks, because Love had come near and they were taking Him in.
And isn’t that how love slides down best? We the broken, feeding the broken with pieces of He who was broken for us. This is when humility surges and love breaks open all of our hearts, ready to receive.
These were the ones they both had cultivated community with, a single file of the broken, as we all are, those on all places of the Journey.
Some struggled with the mystery and sat back down only to jump back up when the line got short. No one wanted to be left outside of this circle of love, the bread and wine given meaning. They had made the good news truly good through years of love.
And this was a 1 Corinthians 13 sermon I could see (and here is another, you’ve got to check out this engagement story). The love chapter spun out into pictures and I finally understood: True ministry is Jesus handed out, an overflow of love.
Most pictures taken by the spectacular Deb Howard. Do check her out here!
This is a part of the cross-shaped evangelism series. To catch up, press here.
If you want to follow along with this thirsty one, put your email in the connect box to the right and push subscribe. It is always a privilege to journey with you.
Linking with the insightful Laura Boggess here.
And always counting Thanks with Ann Voskamp here.
1. how he tenderly sat with me in my exhaustion
2. son, curled up beside me
3. how his eyes lit up as he saw me watching from the stands
4. friends and the hard work of living life out together
5.the rain pattering on window sill, putting me to sleep, melting the snow
6. daughter pointing out first signs of crocus
7. them all begging for more scripture songs. so thankful.
8. gifts timed right
9. a whole slew of new gift counters at my church
10. the gift of a marriage grown patient and kind