Bone Marrow Drives, My Church and the Cross.. reflections of the week..

I started going there when I was about 18. It was the first church I picked myself and learnt to settle in and serve in on my own without my parents. I had looked for the better part of a year and basically church hopped with friends which I am glad is not a habit I kept up for life. Just before I went off to college I ended up settling at Christ Community Chapel (still called Hudson Chapel back then and I still get the name wrong sometimes!) I can’t remember why exactly I ended up picking it.. probably something to do with the Bible teaching.. but as you will see later in this post, there are a million grateful reasons why it is still my home church.


I grew here. I struggled to get plugged in as a college student coming in and out for a few weeks or months at a time in a big church but eventually one summer I got plugged into an ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship). ABFs are what we’d call Sunday School in my old church. Sure all of the people in my new ABF were in their 50s or 60s but my mentor Jacque invited me and it was there I found real community. Lol. I still barely know very many people there my age. I miss that ABF.. they are all in different groups now that I am back and it’s hard to see everyone in the same place. For 8 years I would come in and out from living abroad and slot back into my ABF of people my parents age. The crowd from when I joined all knew me but I’d occasionally get odd looks from newer people who had joined and probably wondered who this punk kid was that couldn’t go find a class for her own age group. 🙂 


I moved off to to the UK to serve Jesus after uni and my church supported me there, they were there to give me a space and a room and a proctor (the dear Tampa who checked in on me throughout the test as required) to take my 4.5 hours IPP test before I moved overseas long term 2 years later. The IPP test is the “crazy person test” we joke at work .. not really.. but a Myers Briggs and Personality Profiler to determine if I was in good enough mental health to be able to handle overseas living. I have a myriad of second mom’s and dad’s at Christ Community who are great and look after me in the small amounts of time I am back in the country. Eventually my mom and dad and then a couple years later my brother and sister in law and their kids followed me to Christ Community and now we all go there together when I am home. When I am in the UK I get reports on sermons from my parents all the time. I grew up in a Christian home and have been involved in one church or another my whole life but I haven’t seen my parents grow in their faith this rapidly until being here. It has been great to see. 


This weekend was another reason I just felt so grateful for the people who are my people in this church even though I spend most of my time serving abroad and it’s so big there are so many faces I have yet to meet. It was a phone call from a good friend from high school last weekend and hearing the news of another old friend’s wife relapsing with leukemia and there not being a bone marrow donor available and the urgency and the lack of venue at the time to host a drive. We needed people but we also needed a place. A short Facebook email to my pastor and his conversations with our church administrator or staff team or whatever happened last Sunday night.. all I know was in 30 minutes it was done. Not only was Christ Community Chapel opening the doors for us to have the bone marrow drive there but my pastor wanted us to use the large body of church traffic to advertise. We were going to host it during all four services. I called the next day, elated it was happening and to see what I needed to do to further set things up. I was thinking it would be in a couple weeks. 


No. They had scheduled it for next weekend. The need for bone marrow was urgent wasn’t it? And they had already put a notice in the church bulletin – a leaflet that gets handed to everyone on coming in each week and it had already gone to press. And they were announcing it from all the services from the front.


Phenomenal. 


I now had six days to scramble with everyone to get things organized. 


But it was great and it worked and I was so encouraged by what I know is an amazing group of people.  People poured over to our table after every service bee-lining to find out how they could help. There are a lot of health regulations that mean you can’t donate and also you can’t if you are under 18 or over 60. It does mean a lot of people are eliminated very quickly. All of my crushed over 60 year old friends who desperately wanted to give to see if they’d be a match for Amelia were precious. (Remember in my church most of my friends are over 60 year olds). People were late going into services because they were filling out forms and were late coming out. The queues would last until everyone found out whether or not they could be a potential donor and fill out their paperwork. No one walked away because you had 3 pages of details and medical history you needed to fill out. One woman ran to the table and wanted to hear all about Amelia and near cried and exclaimed she thinks she would like Amelia. She loved Amelia’s pink wig and cute style after her first round of chemo and cancer. Tears welled in her eyes at the thought of Amelia’s suffering. All in all we were able to have 227 people swabbed and added to the registry between four services. This might all seem amazing to some people. And in some ways it was to me.. I was so encouraged with the speed of which everything happened and people getting the sense of urgency. In some ways this whole week has been amazing. People have come out of the woodwork from different friendship circles, different states, all over the country really to be mobilized to give, to serve, to volunteer, to get tested, to design websites, design fliers, and fundraise. So it is not just my church I am encouraged by. I have seen it in many places and from many people both those I know and don’t. It’s all gone a bit viral. But my observations for today, this is pretty normal for my church. 


People get the loving God and loving people thing and the vibe affects the way people live and the way they give. It’s in the DNA of the church and if you are there for very long you will start to see it everywhere. You see my church talks about grace a lot. We talk about grace and the Gospel and actually this weeks sermon in our series on doctrine was on The Cross. The Gospel is the beauty of how God loves us and what He did to buy us our of our sin and filth and everything that is horrific and awful in us, and meet his own requirements for purity and holiness by sending Jesus to die for us .. to buy us into a relationship with Himself freely. It is free. It is grace. It is God’s love making a way for his his mercy to take care of his wrath against sin and make a way for sinful people to be made right with him and we call that grace. It is free. You just take it. You follow Jesus as Lord and Saviour and trust him and let him make you clean and change you. There is nothing to earn. And if you get God’s love and grace and mercy for free.. it frees you up to love people. 


I missed the sermon mostly today. I will be catching up online when it’s up. But I caught one thing that stood out to me as I overheard a snippet. ‘If you think Christianity is about Jesus’ teaching and not the cross, you miss the whole point of Christianity. But if you get that the whole point is the cross then you get Christianity and it helps you make sense out of His teaching.’


I am praying many things in lieu of this week. I am praying for Amelia to be healed, I am praying for a donor to be found, I am praying that through all of this we’d all know and love and trust the beauty of the love and grace of God in Christ, who gets our suffering who understands our pain because Jesus went to the cross. I am praying those who don’t know Christ will find him and trust him as Saviour and Lord. I don’t know what the Lord will do with all those prayers. But I know he is good. I know He loves Amelia. And I know I saw a moment of grace this weekend at church as we all banded together to do something.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s