I walked in with no expectations. I was hurt and in need of something. I knew I did not need a production, or a sermon series, or an enthusiastic greeter. I needed to hear the Word. I needed the breath of life that God bestowed upon the dust of the ground. I needed to be revived.
I sat in the back of the sanctuary and listened to the organ. I saw the genuflects, the kneeling, and the holy water, finding comfort in this liturgy. An order that included the bread and the wine along with the muffins and the coffee. The communion of the saints and communion with the saints. I needed community.
I had no idea how broken I was. The scattered pieces were not shiny like the street diamonds of my neighborhood. Broken car windows glittering in the sun. My heart had been beat up by years of “service to the Lord.” So a service for the Lord was not where I wanted to be. I wanted to be in bed. I wanted to be at brunch. I needed to be here.
I knew I needed Jesus. I needed His words, His people. I needed the beauty of stained glass and the stations of the cross, I needed the ancient words of truth that were not manipulated for profit, or to attract donors. I needed the healing hem of His garment, and the faith to reach for it.
I said “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done,” and meant it. The Kingdom felt like the hidden treasure, so far away, so cloistered. I knew the map was accessible, I knew the expedition was a worthy endeavor, but… there will always be a but when god’s will is not actually God’s will. I needed this treasure.
I heard the warbled songs of the congregation and felt compelled to join. There were no drums, no guitar, no worship leader commanding I lift my hands. I sang off-key and no one cared. I sang from the blue hymnal, following words on a page; profound theology, and Christ-centric lyrics. I needed the songs of my youth.
I listened to the truth proclaimed. The Old Testament reading, the Psalms, the Epistle, and the Gospel, “Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people. Thanks be to God.” the refrain repeated. His word does not return void. I needed to sit while the Word wound around me. I needed to stand and sit, and kneel to remember His truths. His love seemed so far away, just out of reach. I needed Truth.
I was unknown. No one here associated me with my past life, the failed church plants, the successful career, the singleness, the expertise–I was just me, a clean slate. Finding a church in the midst of pain and moving is complex. I was hesitant and cautious, like a kid with a life jacket who has never jumped off a diving board. I no longer trusted the safety protocol. I needed the freedom to jump.
I am finding my way. The Kingdom is an excellent pursuit. The Bride of Christ is messy and marred, and perfectly imperfect, just like me. I need to remember that.
Candy Gibson spent 16 years with World Impact as a church planter, youth leader, camp counselor, incarnational missionary, Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships and the unofficial Social Chair. In July of 2022 she began a new journey with Fresh Coast Alliance—she is excited to see what God has planned for her and this organization. Oh, and she loves coffee, art, biblical feminism and living near Lake Michigan.