by Christopher Harbin

Priestly People
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Peter 2:1-10

What is the church? Why are we here? Why do we exist? We all know that being the church is so much more than showing up on Sunday mornings, going to Bible study, praying, bringing our tithes to support our ministries in the community and beyond. We know that being the church is much more than tracking our attendance and participation in worship, Sunday school, Wednesday evening activities and more. It goes beyond our work at Lydia's Loft, God's Garden, World Hunger, and The Bin. So why does it so often seem that we punch in at this place we call church, record our presence, and then check out to get on with our lives? What is it that we often miss like that fleeting word on the tip of the tongue?

It's been a while since I walked into a church service or Sunday school class, sat down and just listened and joined in the congregational singing. It's been a much longer time since that would have seemed normal to me.

My birth as a pastor's son was announced during Sunday school that morning I first breathed. Being in church is one of my earliest memories and such a natural part of life, even if the churches in which I have participated have been very diverse. I recognized God's call on my life for missionary service as a young teen. I figured that on going to college I would take a break, sit back, and take in what church had to offer before I headed off to seminary and fulltime ministry.

Someone has said, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans." That pretty much wraps up how those plans worked. I got to college, went around to various churches in search of a good music program I could enjoy. Two months later, I found myself singing in the choir of a smaller downtown church, teaching the retired men's Sunday school class, and directing the church training program. By summer, I was serving as minister of music in a country church forty-five minutes from Mississippi College. ...

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