In brief: to share gratitude and hope and our struggles; to care for one another. In more detail: eating together, conversing, laughing, telling stories, remembering, listening, praying, singing, agreeing and disagreeing, celebrating, mourning, serving, giving together.
God assembles us, because God loves and delights in us and wants to be with us, and God wants us to be with one another in this love. God wanted to be physically present with us, in the flesh and blood of God’s Son Jesus, to face our worst threats with us. God’s Spirit is with us now to give us life.
What do we look for in a church?
With neighbors such as Apple and Stanford, we get used to excellence in everything from smartphones to academics. In church, we look for excellence, too: in the programs, the music, the preaching, the people. But what’s also on offer in church is human struggle, limitation, failure – and with these gifts, what Paul calls an even “more excellent way … Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t arrogant … it doesn’t insist on its own way … it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (that’s from 1st Corinthians 13, which we often hear at weddings – but it’s really about church life).