One of the happy perks of being your pastor is being invited to all sorts of holiday events, and one of my favorites is the Thanksgiving dinner hosted by our Monday night Alcoholics Anonymous group.
This year’s extravaganza was no different — a rich smorgasbord of fantastic food, including all the season’s favorites, followed by an even richer time of testimony. The group leader read the following passage from the The Big Book:
Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
Then we went around the room, and people shared their thoughts on the passage, as well as expressing their gratitude. The things they shared were humbling and powerful. More than one person expressed their thankfulness that they could remember holidays now; several admitted outright that they knew they would be dead if not for AA.
As I listened, I realized that this group is nothing less than a “church.” Here is a group of people who recognize, admit, and confess their sin, who submit their lives to a Higher Power, and meet weekly to hold each other accountable as they move forward in sanctification. Their fellowship is marked by openness, authenticity, genuineness, tolerance, and acceptance. They don’t wear masks with each other, or pretend to be somebody they aren’t. Their conversation is marked by a deep humility, and also a sparkling sense of hope.
This is exactly what I hope for Kessler Park UMC; this is the kind of fellowship I hope we become.
Isn’t it ironic that perhaps our best example of how to “be the church” has been meeting right here, on church property, every Monday night for the last 16 years?
As you celebrate Thanksgiving, please give a prayer of gratitude for these fellow members of the body of Christ, these fellow trudgers on the Road of Happy Destiny.