So… Immanuel…. Yes….
If there was a polar opposite to Celebration, this is it.
Small, casual, home-based.
No glitz… no glam. No sermon series, no twitter feeds [yet].
Elegant in its simplicity and modesty.
Immanuel is, in essence, a room of imperfect people talking about their struggle as they with Christ. Compared with megachurches, this would be considered a small group.
Small. Small and profound. Small and absolutely frightening. Small and challenging. Small and healing.
I went and participated. I found myself pulling over on the way home and bawling on the side of the road.
I had found my place. I had found my home.
For the first time ever-hear me, ev-ah- I was worshipping with people who were exactly like me.
There is no way to just sit back and be passive. The group is too small. You know everyone there. You talk during the meal, you meditate during the scripture, and you open your soul so wide during discussion that folk can see the meal moving through your intestines.
There is no way to pretend to be to righteous there. Piety rings false there. Truth is honored and weakness is respected. Tears are common and soothing.
What… took me so long finding this? The only thing I can guess was that I wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t ready yet for the emotions to come to the surface, let alone come out of my mouth.
But there was also the fear of losing this beautiful blessing that I have in Immanuel. But the fear of loss has surrounded me ever since I have seriously thought about settling down and building a solid, rooted life here in Austin.
I have the fear that if you really knew who I was, you would not really want to be around me. I fear that the darkness and the evil I have seen and have experienced in my life is too much for people to take. I fear that my need to have truth and to live truthfully will scare those who shield themselves with the lies that they use to carefully build their world. I fear that being a comfort to those who have seen their own flavor of evil will pull me back into my personal abyss.
But with all of that being said and no matter what else is said, there is a truth that I cannot deny.
I. Belong. Here.
And that pleases me.