Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Friends Worship Service

Reflection on the worship service in Joy hall Monday night May 27th. 

"Del Chinchen is coming to Granada on Monday May 27, to apologize for his years of deception. He will make a brief statement and then will respond to questions from those who have been hurt by him. "

Because of my history with this body of believers at GHFC, I responded to his invitation not because I was hurt but because I anticipated an intense God-presence.The sin of immorality is part of the human experience no matter how "sanctified" a congregation may be, and being so it needs to be processed in a way congruent with Kingdom living. That is a tall order. Sadly in the body of Christ we tend to be more likely to set ourselves up as stone throwers than fellow grace-receivers. But I know the people in my local body to be well founded on grace as well as truth. So I went because I knew I would learn something.

Joy hall was filled with about 40 of us. Ed introduced Del and Del came to the front to face us. I was moved by his small figure standing in shame, with head bowed; declaring to us his apology for having sinned against his wife, having brought shame to his mission effort, his church, his God and the name of Christ. He spoke slowly and mostly with downcast eyes. Here before us stood a man who was suffering in the weight of his sin. Next to me my husband took out his hankerchief and wiped his eyes. 

Del then opened to questions from us; some details about what was being done to make things right with the women involved, with his wife with his daughters, his family. Del was notably grieved to relay that certain family members wanted nothing to do with him, that other family members were willing to extend grace but needed time for their own healing. He relayed that he is presently living in a monastery in the same city with Becky. He teared up at quoting Becky, communicating his high regard for her. One of those things Becky told Del, was that he should not be ashamed to be on an "apology tour", because it was a form of worship. This is the very reason Jesus came, to pardon our sin. 

Then came response from us who had come; dear sisters who spoke to Del, and affirmed our commitment to him, our love for him and extended God's grace through our little body to him. Our weeping prophet, Chum also thanked Del, for coming; for having the courage to do what needed to be done and assured Del of our love. I don't remember a time I ever saw so many men weep. 

Ed closed by inviting us to prayer. Among the prayers these thoughts came:
Who of us is beyond the realm of doing an apology tour of our own? Who of us could fancy that we could be the one to cast the first stone? We are on equal ground and in God's eyes this is why his son came to rescue us. God, may Del and his family experience restoration. 

Del's was a serious sin, that affected many, but it was not beyond reach of the blood soaked cross. And Del was bringing his sin to the cross and to us his fellow believers who supported him for years with money, prayers and love. Isn't this where sin is best processed if we keep the focus on the cross? God has forgiven, who are we to hold it against Del? 

It was a time of worship. Scripture records, as the last supper ended the little Jesus band ended with a hymn. So it seemed most appropriate that we ended our meeting by singing Amazing Grace.

Talking with Del afterward he said that before the meeting he considered it would be a meeting of closure of his relationship with Granada. Looking up at Fred and I he said, "But that is not what I heard tonight. I heard that you welcome me back."

It has been said that in the Friend' tradition, business meetings are 'A worship meeting where business gets done." Becky was right. May 27th was a worship meeting; a worship meeting where an apology for sin was made.  Thank you Del for taking a hard but neccessary step. We will pray for you and all those affected, to experience God's deep grace. 

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