The FUMC church staff went on a retreat together last week. It was a short overnight stay in Glen Rose, approximately 24 hours of time together. During our “debrief” meeting at the end, everybody said they wished it was longer, that they didn’t want to go back yet. Everybody wanted to stay, to keep this experience going just a few more days. Why?
Nothing particularly remarkable happened on the trip, it certainly wasn’t flashy by any measure. There were meetings, mealtimes, some breakout sessions, and an epic puzzle that took way longer to complete than expected. It wasn’t our actions that were powerful, it was our intentions. We were there to know each other and to know Jesus. That’s when something special happened.
“Do you know what happens when you experience this? You don’t want to leave. You can’t.”
In his letter to the church in Phillipi, Paul reminds the people of their true focus; to be a community centered on Christ, to live united in one spirit. When this happens, people begin to see each other as Christ sees them. Every person is made in the image of a loving God. They are all parts of one body, with special gifts to offer the common cause. This, Paul says, is what it means to be together as the church, and that’s what happened on our retreat. We were the church, together, one in spirit with a resurrected Christ.
Do you know what happens when you experience this? You don’t want to leave. You can’t. The “real world,” with its distractions and false priorities, become unbearable. Therein lies the calling that you and I share; to not only experience what it feels like to be the true, loving church, but to shape the “real world” in that image bit by bit.
Before you can share that love with the world, though, you have to experience it for yourself. There’s no one-stop-shop for building this in your life, but joining us this Sunday is the best place to start. I’ll see you soon.