Since we were perfectly punctual this a.m., you know seats remained available, right? You know it, front row, or should I say front/side row. I sat down, turned to talk to Mary, and found she deserted me and found a safe seat next to her friends near the back of the church. Everyone was giggling and contemplating what our creative pastor was up to. After an amazing time of worship in song and the Scripture reading, pastor stated the obvious about our seating arrangement for this week.
"The Fellowship of the Believers: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:42-47
The best part though, it wasn't the "circle of sharing and fellowship" that was to bust everyone out of their box. As part of the service, pastor asked the new ministry leaders to form a circle in the center, facing towards the congregation. Once we were situated, he invited the congregation to make a circle around us. Once we figured out how to make our circles, pastor invited the congregation to pray over their ministry leaders for this new year. It was a laying of hands, precious prayers, and box-breaking fellowship. After the corporate "Amen", everyone returned to their seats. Some seemed relieved "it" was over.
Then pastor read our closing verses of Scripture from Acts 4:32-37...
"The Believers Share Their Possessions: All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”, sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet."
You know it, it was a cross between nervous giggles, tightened shoulders, and eager disciples. Personally, I was thinking "Can't we do this in the summer. I have boots on and know my feet are sweaty. Yuck...Are you serious God? Did you really tell pastor to do this? It's winter. I would much rather clean sand and mud than boot sweat." Thankfully, pastor didn't leave us to stress too long before telling us we were having a figurative foot washing.
Instead of taking off each others shoes to wash feet, we let go of our defenses, and either prayed or were prayed for. If people cold physically kneel and lay hands on the feet, they did. If they couldn't kneel, laid their hands on the person's head or shoulders. This time of prayer was closed with worship through song and prayer.
All in all, it was a great morning service and I'm glad we made it. I love the way God works, don't you? We might say "I like my box and I'm not getting out." BUT God sees the bigger picture and blesses us when we trust him and get out of our boxes.
Have a great Super Bowl Sunday everyone! Be safe and get out of your box. When you are at your friends for the annual Super Bowl Party - ask to pray over the food before you start? A baby step to breaking down the walls of our boxes.
How has God pushed you out of your box?