The Spirit of God showed up in our worship gatherings yesterday in a manner which I have seen occasionally, and which still always catches me by surprise.
Our focus in worship was celebrating the love of God, in particular through the lens of 1 John 3:1-3, which shows us how God’s love causes God to call people his children, and to make it so. We are made part of the fellowship (koinonia)of God and of Jesus the Son, which begins the process of changing us into something entirely beyond our imagination – the image of Jesus himself. We talked about the joy of being adopted by God into his family, and the way adoption is such a beautiful human way to emulate God. We even remembered the joyous adoption of a little girl into one of our families in the last two years.
But what I did not remember – until Tony and Cristina reminded me after worship – was that yesterday was the two-year anniversary of that blessed adoption of Alicia. Totally unplanned on my part.
We also talked about the power of God to set us free from the brokenness of the world in changing us into the image of his Son, which begins now but will be completed when we see Jesus:
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2 ESV)
Celebrating being set free and changed also came up after the service, when Fred Stockmeier pointed out to me that yesterday was the 67th anniversary of the day he was set free from a prison camp near the end of the Second World War. Again, I had no idea – but the Holy Spirit of God knew what a perfect day this was to celebrate being set free, and to give thanks for being adopted into the family of God.
The most high-minded plans I ever make to try to craft worship with movements and coherence and thematic unity can’t hold a candle to the movement of God beneath it all, gathering us into this place together, young and old, to let the Word speak into our lives and bring us into his story.
May I never forget it.