Looking into the mirror: the power of simple church community

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-25

Except for perhaps Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, looking in the mirror can be a bit unpleasant. Too many gray hairs or not enough hair, too many pounds or not enough muscles…a mirror is unbiased and unyielding.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the…well…privilege of having my simple church be an excellent mirror for the condition of my soul. I cannot say it has been entirely pleasant, as it revealed to me some beliefs and behaviors. However, knowing is…as they say…half the battle. I already feel God’s hand at work within me to heal and redeem these rogue areas of my life.

I do not believe these particular areas would have been so precisely revealed in what 21st century Americans consider “church.” I would venture to say that you are in good standing in most American churches if you are able to hold it together for an hour every Sunday morning and the occasional youth car wash or nursing home visit. This is a far cry from the controversial life alteration Jesus called each of His followers to.

In the past two weeks, our church network has been spending time together in our glorious mountains. People from our different house churches have met up for a picnic, hiking, camping, and just plain being together. It is this extended time together when the defenses come down and we are revealed for who we truly are.

I am blessed to have a community, an ekklesia, a church who helps serve as an incarnation of God’s word. They are God’s mirror to my soul.