Give thanks to the God of heaven. His faithful love endures forever.
Psalms 136:26 (NLT)
We've been meeting during the weeks leading up to Easter in a special time of worship on Sunday nights. The object is to grow closer to God and each other as we explore just what Easter cost God and just what it means for us. So I've planned each service with the aim to do as much as we can together. No sermon, more sharing.
Each week I've used certain symbols to remind us of what God has done. We had "veils" of paper that we tore as we contemplated what God did through Jesus' death on the cross in tearing the veil in the temple that separated the people from the presence of God. We had bread baking one night in the sanctuary as we celebrated communion. We wore name badges last night that proclaimed us "guilty" that we took off and affixed to the cross to testify that through Christ's death, we were made right with God.
And I've used many different videos - both music and drama, to help us grasp how wide, and how deep the love of God is for us.
My hope is that we have experienced the presence of God together these past few weeks.
But last night, I think I heard Jesus' voice.
I had passed out a sheet of paper which had on it a list of Scriptures that told of God's love for us. I began by reading the first verse, and then each person to my right read the next verse.
Sitting there in the stillness, hearing the voices of these people I've grown to love so much read the words of God's love letter... just took my breath away. Each person read. Some have strong and clear voices, and you could hear the conviction in them. Others spoke softly, but clearly in love. Our friend Allan uncharacteristically stayed to worship with us. He's developmentally disabled, but can read. With the help of his friend Joe Stoy, Allan became a part of our expression of love for God. Then the wavering voices of Robert and Virginia Hughes, aged saints among us were testimonies not just to the lives they have lived, but for Who they have lived them.
It was an experience with the Body of Christ I will never, ever forget.
At the end of the circle was Ian, the youngest among us. The number of verses ended with two repetitions of "His love endures forever." His mother and then his father read those. Ian looked at the paper and at his parents and then spoke "His love endures forever."
Yes it does. And through the voices of God's people, young and old, I think I heard Jesus.