I became a member of Northland, a Church Distributed. It was a delayed decision which I should have taken a long time ago. This church is huge and can be very impersonal if it were not for the fact that God always shows up. Let me give you three examples.
One Sunday, my beloved children Juan, Rosita and I were going to church, and my son Juan was complaining that he didn't like going to this huge church because he felt anonymous there. On my, what do you say to that? Anonymous, big word for a sixth grade, and it was coming from the depth of his heart. So I told him that we were not anonymous to God. That God sees everything about us, he knows all our steps and that I was sure God was there. I basically put God on the spot. Truly, we only knew a couple of people at the church and we had only gone one other time to this huge church, which at the time met in the "Rink," the refurbished Longwood skating rink, with five services, ushering people in and out every hour and a half like a revolving door. He was right. We all felt like no one knew us.
So we got to church. We parked the car in the grassed lot and headed to the rink. At the time the church had the pews in six sections divided by two wide aisles. We entered on the left, and since the service had already started they needed to find us three seats. The man on the left had no seats, so he signaled to the usher on the right, and he waved us forward and to the front. When he took us there, to our utter surprise, the only three seats available were next to the only family we knew in the whole church: the Walthers, some of Rosangela's friends! Of course, we realized God was telling us we were not anonymous to Him!!! Curious enough the message that followed was on the importance of reading which meant a lot to Juan, since he had a learning disability. That message was a turning point in his life, too.
Fast forward years later, a lovely couple whom I had taught at Wesleyan Academy, Joan Pijem and her husband, Emilio Solis, moved to Orlando. It did not matter where I parked, I would always see them going into church but most often coming out. We are talking about a church that easily has two to three thousand people at a service. Then one day, my daughter Ana came from out of town, and as were leaving the parking lot a car starts honking. It was Ana's old school mates, Emilio and Joan, saying hello from their car. We laughed! We knew God was doing his thing. They even knew it because they recognized that no matter if they chatted with friends or if I delayed at the bookstore, the Lord took delight in seeing us greet each other and exchange blessings. They recently relocated to Puerto Rico, but not before letting me know and saying goodbye.
Then today, I went to church in Longwood, well, just because I joined the congregation yesterday, formally after 15 years. It was about time and I think I should have done it sooner. I was on my way to the bookstore, among the throngs of people, when I ran across, three old friends, Ingrid, Debbie, and Belle who had her 87 year old mother with her. They invited me to go have lunch with them at Bahama Breeze... and I had such a lovely time.
We are definitely not anonymous to God, I can almost hear Him say.