On Sunday Morning I preached and led communion in the “Living Room” at Laity Lodge in the Texas hill country outside of San Antonio. The newly formed friendship of 50 folk who gathered for worship were treated to the word and the table in front of huge windows that allowed the green of the Texas hill side to be our stained glass window.
After being welcomed to the morning by delicious fresh baked scones and the warmth of Texas hospitality so freely flowing from one person to another, we gathered for worship together. Grammy winners Ashley Cleveland and Kenny Greenberg led us in singing old hymns with a fresh passion and conviction. Different folks took turns sharing what God was doing in their lives. Birds soared loops against the backdrop of the hills across the canyon of the Rio Frio River. Tears flowed easily as we sang, but for no apparent reason. We laughed loud and long but I don’t remember any jokes being told.
It was simple, humble and beautiful. Earlier in the weekend I had remarked that Laity Lodge reminded me of how Malcolm Muggeridge described Mother Theresa as “something beautiful for God.” And perhaps that is the best way to think about genuinely spiritual experiences. They connect us to the beauty of God.
There is something beautiful about the generosity of a family that has provided a place like Laity Lodge (If you want to be truly touched and inspired, read this about the Howard E. Butt Family).
There is something beautiful when people use their gifts (whether it is baking bread, hospitality, or music) as an offering to God without pretense.
There is something beautiful when the body of Christ gathers for no reason than to worship God and be the body of Christ.
There is something beautiful that makes us want to breathe in, to bask under, to linger. There is something beautiful that makes us long for the beauty of God.
Maybe that is a more helpful description of what our lives, our gatherings, our churches are to be. Something beautiful for God.