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What Do Waiting Rooms And The Church Have In Common?

What do waiting rooms and the church have in common? Last week, I was in a hospital surgical waiting room for 10 hours. What an interesting place to observe.

I listened to the man checking in the families give the same speech dozens of times. Here’s your free voucher for a small drink and directions to the cafeteria, and the lockers are over there. It was nearly the same, word-for-word, each time. He was very friendly.

Some of the visitors came in as families, all anxiously waiting to hear how the surgery went. Most were by themselves. Some fell asleep. Others were constantly calling or texting, passing on updates to family and friends after they had received updates themselves.

Four times, if I remember right, there was what sounded like a nursery lullaby over the PA system. New birth was celebrated throughout the hospital. As surgeries finished, most visitors were greeted by a smiling nurse saying, “All went well, you can expect to see them soon.” A few were greeted by the surgeon, and their update was given in another room, behind a closed door.

Great news, good news, and bad news given throughout the day—that was what stayed on my mind the most from that experience over the last few days. And it got me thinking about the church.

Everyone Is Welcome At Church

Some people show up on Sunday mornings after a terrible week, or even a terrible season. They buried a parent, marriage is full of tension, or the kids have been a struggle. Maybe all the above.

Others show up full of joy, God has provided yet again! The friend they invited finally accepted and came with, and they had a great conversation about faith on the way over. The new job came with a pay raise and better hours. There was no fighting on the car ride over, and the kids got ready early enough to grab coffee on the way in.

People are walking in, bringing great news, good news, and bad news, and it reminded me of what Paul said to the church after writing about what the church is: a body. Near the end of his description, he wrote, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

If I’m honest, it’s one of my favorite parts of the church. To the best of our ability, no one will suffer alone here. We may stumble over our words or not know what to say at all, but we suffer with you, even if we’re far from suffering. And we want to celebrate you, even if we’re in the midst of suffering.

There’s something beautiful about that, so keep your head up and your eyes open. Look for those suffering and celebrating people—they’re all over the church, because they are the church. Suffer and celebrate together as you both look to Jesus, perhaps for very different reasons, because that’s what we do as the church.

Connect In A Lifegroup. If you don’t go further than a church service, you’re missing out on all that God created for you! Life is better together so find a group and get connected.

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