It is quite interesting all the things a preacher, or any public speaker for that matter, sees while they are speaking to a crowd. I almost hate to share this best kept secret. I see people's eyes, their facial expressions, head-nodding, uncomfortable body language, way too comfortable body language (sleeping), people getting up and leaving, walking around, or even arriving in the middle of the sermon. I see people who are tracking with my message and those lost in a world all their own. And while this helps me as speaker to either add some inflection to bring attention back to the message or explain something a bit more to help the idea come to life, it is not the greatest thing I see.
The best thing that I see when I stand before a people who have made all the necessary sacrifices to come meet God, Jesus, Spirit, and Church that morning is the countenance of Christ. I see the body of Christ! I see black,/white, catholic/protestant, young/old, female/male, sufferers/blessed, survivors/thrivers, strong/weak, gatherers/missionaries, republicans/democrats/independents, liberals/conservatives, and churched/unchurched. It inspires me and should inspire you that on one hour on a Sunday each week such a diverse group can enter the same building and find a common bond in Jesus Christ. They are all walking on a similar path dedicated to a lifelong journey with Christ. Some have been on that path all their life and there are others who have to yet to decide if this will be the journey for them or not.
And why is this a place of such unity in the face of incredible diversity? Because whether we hold the same ideals, desires, interests, backgrounds, or experiences we have the same spouse; Christ. The church is His bride and this common factor draws us together to not only be inspired by His word, His worship, and His people but also because of His Spirit. When we come together we can all share how Christ has wept with us, cheered with us, challenged us, and saved us!
There is one thing I know about the church. The church is bigger than any individual involved. The church is at its best when it comes together to celebrate, lament, and serve as one body. A body that is local and global. A body that is united and yet diverse. A body that understands that Jesus has already come and is yet to come again. A body that lives because it is part of the Kingdom today and the Kingdom that is yet to be fully realized.
So when I stand up to preach this Sunday and I say, "Work through me, Lord!" I will see you nodding and nodding off, but more importantly I will see an incredible set of individuals who have joined together for a journey of following Christ and living Kingdom life together. And believe me, it is a sight to behold. It's the best view in the building!