What Do You Do When You Are Missing Your Church? Well, you tune into online church of course.
And if you are Paul Rasbury, you pack up your breakfast, hop in your car for a Sunday morning ride. That ride begins in Haltom City, meanders past the Trinity River and ends up outside Leonard Chapel at FUMCFW. Once there, you unpack your breakfast, sit near the big wooden doors, and a launch the online DiscipleChurch service from your phone.
It’s hard to say who was more surprised — Hans Grim (coming to the building to sing for the sanctuary service), who noticed someone sitting there, or Paul, who, thinking he was alone enjoying the weather, his food, and the service, looked up to see Hans!
What a great and joyful surprise it was for both of them!
Hans took a picture and sent it to me, not long after I had seen the registration records for the morning service, which included Paul and his note: “I want to join the church.” It was one of those all things working together moments.
Paul Rasbury has been a regular at DiscipleChurch for many years, making a change from membership in another group. His friends, Bill and Joan Lanford, long time members at FUMCFW, had invited him.
Last fall during prayer time at church, we were discussing the dismay we were feeling about the division in our church over inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community. Paul spoke up. He, too, was sorry to learn about the turbulence, and he acknowledged that he had been hurt by the attitudes he encountered in another denomination, but he encouraged us not to give up.
Apparently, the love he has received at DiscipleChurch has been what Paul was looking for. When I asked him about his Sunday morning trip to the church, Paul said, ” I have been listening to the messages while sitting at the Trinity Duck Pond the past few Sundays, but this time I thought I needed my church, and I wasn’t getting it, so the next best thing was sit outside the doors and listen.”
We need you too, Paul.
Paul added to his story, noting how quiet it was downtown that day except for the sound of birds and an occasional ambulance on Henderson. He said he thought, “…this is how it is to be homeless, you hear everything – if a person just sits alone, well, of course we are not alone because God is there, and I believe my mom, my guardian angel is always with me too. But just sitting there listening to the ambulance passing, thinking about our homeless friends, it all made me thankful to be healthy and still alive.”
Thanks Paul, thanks for being church for us. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of quietness, the reality of people who struggle so much, and of the presence of God in it all.