Welcome to #ATLT, At the Lord’s Table: A Conversation, a series of over 50 posts from varying authors about the beautiful, mangled Church. Look for at least two new posts every Monday through Saturday between January 25th and February 22nd. Join us in the conversation? See you in the comments. "Here is the church," I laced my fingers together and hid them between closed palms. "Here is the steeple," I shot my pointer fingers up and touched the tips together. "Open the door and see all the people," I swung apart my thumbs and wiggled my entwined fingers. And this last was always my favorite part, the funny church members all wobbly and stuck together.
My fingers have grown since those days, but I still like to use them to remind myself of what makes up the Church. For all the division and frustration, for all the disillusionment and hurt, for all the damage that by rights should have razed the building long ago, still here is the Church. And still my favorite part is the people.
I wrote once of needing audacious grace, the kind I first found in my Savior. And, emboldened by the security of His foundational grace, I dared enough to ask it of the people who called themselves His Body. I laid out a few of my best sins because they were just ugly enough to serve as warning: This was clearly one slutty, manipulative bitch. And then I made the big ask: Could I be a part of their lives in the most communal, personal ways? And the people in the Church said Yes.
I love all sorts of people, but the only ones I have ever known to hear a woman say, "I slept with your husband" and then invite her to dinner are the ones who have also found themselves needing and caught up securely in that first Audacious Grace.
That any one of us should have been so mysteriously, magnificently rescued seems miracle enough; it is almost too good to be true that there are others-- who breathe the same air, who inhabit the same time, who walk right into each other-- who have experienced the very same thing. And yet, the too-good is true: That same grace that has caught up all us wobbly-willed people has also entwined us.
So when I asked them to open the Church door, they rushed to fling it wide. They invited me in to pen my question marks, to sing my faltering tunes, to pass my dirty dishes, to help carry my babies and my burdens.
So here is the Church made of messes like me, and it's no wonder it's so tattered and broken. But I cannot despair: I open the door and see all the people, and the One to whom the steeple points has hid us between closed palms where we are all wobbly and stuck together.
Tamara is a collector of fine tattoos, an imbiber of cheap wine, and a singer of eclectic music. She works out her thoughts on life and faith at TamaraOutLoud.com, occasionally with adult language, frequently with attempted humor, and hopefully with God’s blessing. Editor of “What a Woman is Worth” through Civitas Press, she holds a BA in English and her five children, when they let her; she almost never holds her tongue.