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Rated: E · Short Story · Spiritual · #2312091
Those invisible helpers
Our church is very small. We are usually about ten to twenty people in a service and very rarely, on the best of days, maybe 35. I belong to an English-speaking congregation here in Germany. In such a small congregation, the leadership team must pull its weight and I will regularly preach or lead services, do the coffee, set out the chairs, or try and work out the impossibly complicated German sound and video system for our online visitors. There are about three to five of us who do all the work and the rest are spiritual consumers.

I do not have any problem with this arrangement. There have been phases of my own life when I have come to church to simply receive and it is essential to allow people the freedom to do that without in any way feeling guilty. The church is a center of healing and refreshment for those who need it, a watering hole for the lonely, hurting and brokenhearted. The good news of the gospel requires gentleness with seekers and an openness to free riders. It is all about giving to people and sharing the same grace and mercy that we have received.

But there are times when I am spiritually tired and indeed, in recent weeks, quite broken inside. In such moments, I love to worship God and sing my lungs out in His praise and thanks. I find that refreshing. It was in such a moment that I remember feeling that our nearly empty church was not as empty as it appeared to be. It was as though a host of mighty angels guarded the altar and the pastor and even more were singing from the rafters. There is a special encouragement to knowing that despite the low numbers in many churches, despite the people we know who have drifted away from the faith, the angelic hosts and indeed the church invisible complements the regular congregants.

It is also encouraging to know that things have always worked like this. From a worldly perspective it often appears the church is in decline but especially low tides can be followed by especially high ones and God and his angels are always there. The passage I am quoting for this competition is the one from 2 Kings 6:16-17 in which the angelic army is revealed by Elisha on the mountainside. Elisha encourages his frightened servant by opening his eyes to the fiery chariots of the Lord of Hosts. But so also should we take encouragement today that God is always with us even in the worst of situations.

Have you ever heard an angel sing? Me neither, but by faith, I believe the very ground for miles around can shake in response to an angel choir encouraging the faithful in Sunday morning worship. Have you ever seen an angel fight? Me neither, but I know that a single angel took out the entire Assyrian army and that another slew all the firstborn of Egypt in a single night. These guys are singing with us, so sing your heart out in worship and thank God for His protection and for the fact that we never need to be afraid.

Do you worry that you are singing too loudly? Don't; the angels have far mightier voices than yours.


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