March 26, 2015 by Renee Griffin
I was rushing to the ladies’ room before the funeral service began when she reached out across the wooden, church pew and grabbed my arm. Sitting alone on the back row, this beautiful lady smiled up at me with sparkling, blue eyes. With the graceful aim of a master fisherman casting her line, she lured me closer as she spoke.
“Ya’ll take her home with you for a few days, alright?”
“She needs to rest.”
Pausing to process this stranger’s request as she held firmly to my arm and patted my hand, I listened closely as she continued.
“She’s been strong for her sister for so long.”
“It will do her so much good to get away and rest.”
The tender, urgent request melted my heart. As I patted the top of her weathered, gorgeous hand, I gave her my promise to offer rest and respite.
Two sisters, faithful to Jesus and fiercely loyal to each other had weathered life’s storms together, and today was the day when one sister would say an earthly goodbye to the other. For years and right to the end, she’d stood beside her sick sister without complaint caring, sacrificing, and serving.
I was praying for my loved one’s comfort and loneliness, but after receiving the stranger’s request, it dawned on me that she was far from alone.
My loved one was surrounded by her sisters in Jesus.
Several of them stopped me and made the same earnest plea as the stranger on the back row.
Looking around the church, it was clear they had all gathered not only to say goodbye to one, but also to announce, “We are still here” to the other. They were gathered in hugs and linked arms. They gathered with casseroles and labors of love from their kitchens. No one had given them instructions to gather or told them what to bring. They just showed up.
The love between these women is real and it’s strong because the foundation is a love for Jesus.
An army of women gathered at church on the day of goodbyes, but it was not the first day they’d shown up together. They’ve gathered at the Lord’s House regularly to worship and serve. This beautiful display of loving Jesus and each other reminds me yet again of God’s exquisite plan and provision.
He has been gathering since creation.
In Genesis 1:9, God gathered the waters.
In Exodus 16, the Israelites gathered God’s provision in the desert.
In Matthew 19:13-14, wherever Jesus was the little children gathered.
In Matthew 26, Jesus gathered His twelve disciples for Passover before His death.
When He comes back again, which He will do, He will gather His Children.
Until then, He has told us we should be gathered together at His House. (Hebrews 10:25)
Gathered together we can’t be pulled apart.
There in His House, gathered to serve Jesus, a supernatural knitting of hearts happens.
The Master Creator pierces the fabric of our lives and draws a thread of Christ’s love connecting and stitching us together. In His glorious design, the cord of Christ pulls us closer and ruffles appear as the fabric is gathered. Pulled tightly against each other, the splendor of Jesus flows and moves merging us in unison displaying God’s glory. The intricate motion of loving Jesus and each other rolls rhythmically like ocean waves.
We need to gather because every one of us will face days when the fabric of our lives is ripped to shreds. When those days come, we need each other.
When you’re being pulled apart, gather your Jesus sisters and pull together.
“By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round-up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 The Message
Do you know who your Jesus sisters are? If so, thank God for them.
Have you lost touch with your Jesus sisters when you stopped gathering at His House? Come back.
Don’t have any? This Sunday, go to church. I promise you, they are gathered there.