This morning when I went to church, I did something that you're not supposed to do.
I was late to the service, so I was awkwardly standing in the back of the room looking for an empty seat when prayer time began. I spotted an open chair, swooped in while everyone else had their eyes closed, and then it happened.
While everyone else was praying, I kept my eyes open and looked around. I know, I know. You're not supposed to keep your eyes open during prayer time, but I did. And as I looked around the room, my eyes were opened to a beautiful truth.
I saw a young man gripping the back of the chair in front of him whose white knuckle grip gave the impression that letting go of that chair would mean his unraveling.
I saw a woman whose peaceful face was lifted up, as though the simple act of looking toward heaven would fill her heart with grace.
I saw a woman lift her hand, hesitate, and then tenderly slip her arm around behind her husband. He returned her gesture with a warm embrace of his own, and she rested her head against his shoulder as they leaned on one another.
I saw a man with a broad smile on his face who lifted his hands as he mouthed a silent word of praise to his King.
Looking around that room, you may think that I was aware of the differences in our postures or needs, but that's not the case. The Holy Spirit whispered to my heart and said, You don't have many different needs and one answer to those needs. You have many different circumstances that make you aware of your one shared need: Jesus Christ.
You could be a student just trying to make it through one more day of high school without failing a test, a husband who is every day becoming more aware of the brokenness of his marriage, a soon-to-be mom who is both excited and terrified about the prospect of raising a child, or a man who is beginning to wonder why his career doesn't bring him the peace, security, and fulfillment that he was hoping for. Our present circumstances are very different, it's true. But our circumstances all point us towards our one need, our one hope, our one purpose.
It's this - our shared need for our Savior - that connects us, that makes us a community, and that bonds us as family.