I used to get real sad when I’d visit a church which I used to attend. Because some friends would have died, some moved, some left the fellowship. Some have gotten sick or sad or severed relationships or just stayed exactly as they were. Partway through the reunion, I would always notice that someone wasn’t there, or wasn’t mentioned, and I’d have to decide if I should inquire about them; to wonder if I really wanted to know what happened.
But now, I’m starting to see things differently. That’s life. That’s church. And these messy bits are what make it real. These messy bits are what shape us and make us real and make us grow. They shake loose our ideas of who we want God to be, and show us a God who is more confusing and confounding than we might like, but more loving and real than we would otherwise imagine.