I didn’t preach yesterday and didn’t have to be at Richview, so I decided to go to Grace Toronto, a church pastored by my friend Dan MacDonald. I’ve wanted to go to Grace for a while now, and was glad to hear Dan would be in town on a long weekend to preach at the service.
I think it’s fair to say that I spent a small part of the service doing what all pastors do: analyzing, taking mental notes, comparing what they do to what we normally do.
But I find it impossible to do much of this while gathered to worship. I’m really not a pastor out to learn what another church is doing. Not really. As we sang about the cross (“My heart is filled with a thousand songs / Proclaiming the glories of Calvary”), confessed sin (“All our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us…”), were reminded of forgiveness through Christ’s work; as we prayed and heard the Scripture opened, it was impossible not to come as a sinner who needed to enter God’s presence with God’s people, remember what God has done through Christ, and receive grace. This came to me most powerfully as we went up to receive the bread and wine.
My primary identity is not pastor. My primary identity is sinner, a recipient of God’s grace, desperately grateful to be one of God’s many people.
Thanks to Grace – both the church and the concept – for giving me just what I needed yesterday.