Reflections of Home: Hope Family Fellowship
By Lindsey A. Branson
Beside the little white church, a gentle spring breeze slightly rustles the tree's leaves outside the window. Lovely trees and beautiful flowers adorn the outside. In the yard, the children call and laugh to each other as their families file in the little building. Every person greets one another with hugs and warm smiles. Friends warmly greet one another and inquire of each other. "Hello!- How was your week?- My what a lovely dress.- How's work going?" The halls echo with friendship and love of the past, present and future.
The building is a plain one, but beautiful to those who make it special. Many remember when the little building was tried and worn from years of use. When the Lord entrusted it to our care, to us it became very special and no longer just a building. Many families worked hard to make it cheery and pleasant. Remodeling was done, walls were painted, curtains sewn, decorations made, carpet laid. Love was poured into the dwelling with anticipation of the first Sunday. Now, as families pick seats and file into their rows, it's hard to imagine the wonderful blessing as anything but beautiful and spectacular. A simple cross hangs in the front, a reminder of our Lord Jesus' death and resurrection. It too, like many other things in the church, was lovingly fashioned by a faithful member.
The pastor strides up to the front with a hearty good morning, a verse and prayer. Many offer up praises and petitions along with the pastor as he prays. The worship leader stands up and proclaims, "Today is the day to worship God, with all our hearts. Let us come into His presence." There is no fifty ensemble orchestra, but only a guitar and piano. However, the songs and praises lifted to heaven are as sweet to the Master as any heavenly choir, for the praises come from His children.
After the songs are over and the voices remain quiet, silent prayers are lifted up in an offering to God. Prayers, petitions, thankfulness, praises, love and joy all pour from the believers hearts to the very throne of heaven. During this special time, testimonies are given, favorite verses shared, prayer requests are made and prayer is led by those who choose to share with the congregation. Many tears, joy, sorrow and laughter has been shared at this time with one another.
The verse for the week is requested, and usually a child responds and pours out from memory the verse he has learned. The words he has studied will forever be ingrained on his mind and heart. "But I tell you the truth, unless youchange and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
The message then rings out clear as the pastor shares his heart with his fellow brothers and sisters. He speaks of God's love, the unity of the family, the church, and the glory of heaven. Many topics range from the pastor's lips every Sunday, preaching whatever the Lord shows him. At times the messages are full of joy and promise, while others bring conviction and repentance. Always faithful, his congregation appreciates him more than he will ever know. A loyal and faithful servant to God he will forever be needed. He speaks God's truth, which will never be out of date or irrelevant.
As the service comes to a close, the friends and fellow children in Christ again greet one another. Stories are shared about the week, events remembered, burdens shared, the love of God discussed. What problem is there, that it cannot be eased by a relationship with Christ and sharing with loving friends? "A friend loves at all times." Relationships with God and with each other are the cornerstones of the church. Love abounds from one child of God to another.
At last the pastor departs when the congregation is gone, and another Sunday is over. But the halls echo with memories of Sundays past and other events also. Prayer and discussion meetings have been held within the walls and rooms, along with other events. The bride-to-be exclaims over her friends' kindness and the wonderful presents with which they have showered her. Quizzers meet downstairs to practice their verses that they have so diligently studied from the Word of God. Men come together to share and build one another up. Some young people host a play attended by family and friends. So much joy and happiness has been hosted in this little white building. It is a place to meet with friends and to fellowship with Christ. Like any place, at times there are problems that arise, but prayer and discussion cease any strife.
The church is dear to so many people, those who would come to worship and seek God. It is a sacred place, filled with worship, truth and love. To those who have chosen to reside in it's peace, Hope Family Fellowship is more than a church-it's a home. For home is in the hearts of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. The reason Hope Family is so special is because of the love that the children of God have in their hearts, for God and for one another. That is what makes Hope Family Fellowship a home.