Today, January 5th, Cheryl and I prayed with about 150 other members of our local church during our annual morning of prayer. Praying with one another for our local and global ministry and outreach is one of the privileges of an active church membership.
Praying with our brothers and sisters in Christ is energizing and renewing and may be the best work of all.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to describe a church or what it is like to experience the ways God works through his people. I like Raniero Cantalamassa’s description of it as “a kind of furnace . . . incinerator . . . hearth . . . and home”:
“We should have an understanding of the Church that is very different from the way the world sees it. The Church is the furnace where the Spirit ‘burns’ in order to destroy sin—a kind of ‘incinerator’ always alight, always at work to do away with the refuse of the soul and to keep the city of God clean. There is a hidden hearth, with welcome fire burning, in the inner privacy of our home which is the Church, and blessed are those who know where to find it and who make a habit of staying close to it, until it becomes their heart’s favorite spot, to which they hurry back every time they feel burdened by guilt and in need of a fresh breath of life” (Come, Creator Spirit, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville Minnesota, 2003, page 119).