Sitting in church as youth from our YLC group led the Sunday Service at First Baptist Ravenswood, WV, I noticed something special.
The teens did a great job preparing their messages. But as good as the messages were… it wasn’t those that I noticed. Different youth truly stepped up to allow God to work through their gift and talents to lead the service… but that wasn’t the most powerful moment. All the preparations helped the service run smoothly… but that wasn’t what caught my attention. The teen worship band had practiced and sought the Lord as they led worship… but the music wasn’t my focus. The church was full of people from many congregations across West Virginia… but it wasn’t the sheer number of people that had me deeply in awe.
As important and wonderful it was to have each of those pieces that Sunday morning, something much deeper made my me smile and feel an amazing connection with the Lord and the Body of Christ. You know, it is truly a beautiful thing to watch the truth of scripture come to life.
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:8-11
That thing that had me deeply in awe that Sunday morning: love.
Sounds simple and yet… we know how many, many things get in the way of love. But that Sunday morning as the YLC teens led worship, the sanctuary was filled love. From the congregation of Ravenswood, to the parents, family members and advocates attending service to support the teens: the sanctuary was clearly filled with love.
and it made all the difference.
It didn’t matter if the speakers flubbed a few words or got lost in their notes for a second. A few miscues or wrong notes were barely perceived. Smiles spread across faces. Voices joined together heartily in song. Great attention and focus was paid to the messages. Because the room was filled with love.
And because the room was filled with love those of us in the pews could participate in worship instead of focusing on the details. And because the room was filled with love each teens involved in the service was able to use their gifts to serve God as nerves faded and confidence grew.
And it was truly beautiful to experience the unity in the Body of Christ as we worshiped the Lord drawn together because of our love of Him and our love and support of the teens leading worship.
What a difference love makes!
So, I’ll ask you to ponder the very thing I’ve been challenged with myself: what if the greatest thing that needs to change is how I love others?
If you’re at all like me then you have many ideas on the right way things should be done, you probably have strong preferences on how things should go, you likely notice all the things that should be improved, and its quite possible that all those things distract you from loving people.
But what if the thing that needs to change the most isn’t all those things but instead how you love others? What difference could your choice to love one another make in your life and in the Body of Christ?