A Time To Grieve
By Chene Menon
The last 5pm service was a good Sunday: babies baptised, new members joining; yet my heart is somewhat heavy…
I remember the inconvenience of cooking dinner before church so we could eat after; and being so encouraged by younger families who changed their nap times, nursing times, in-law visiting times, just to fit the new service timing. I was reminded of Elisabeth Elliot’s quote “love is the willingness to be inconvenienced for others”, I saw this in my sisters and brothers, and I learnt this.
Then came all the rules for social distancing, and ministry was brought back into our homes. It was the easiest way to talk to 5pm friends, and it was really great for me because now I had the opportunity to really know the faces Dev ministers to, and our kids have totally loved entertaining our little friends. The families who visited us have blessed us with encouragement or stories just at the right time when we needed that word.
The 5pm service: it’s small but homely, not perfectly organised but works, a home where broken people can come broken. Prayer time still gets me anxious, “oh oh, who to pray with now?” But I’ve grown to love it, learning to ask ‘how are you’ and be listened to… and it feels like all hands on deck, everyone is doing something, even my kids started serving with PA and ushering.
Dinnerchurch. I think the best part of 5pm. The chance to just sit down and share life. Some conversations have brought me to tears: a sister struggling with childhood trauma, a mother struggling with a special needs child, a young brother realising he didn’t need to earn God’s love, sometimes thinking/dreading I wouldn’t have much to talk to an older person turns out to be the craziest testimony of how God brought salvation to their parents. The children just running and playing freely – this must be a tiny glimpse of what heaven will be!
So I ask myself this question? All the effort into the 5pm congregation – was it worth it? Nothing offered to God is ever wasted. I have learnt to talk to people, to serve, to be a little more humble, a little more like Christ, and that is plenty.