There truly is no hiding in a house church. The intimacy within this form of Christian Community doesn't allow for it. This is especially true for the Pastor of the house church & SoulHouse is no exception. Pastor Judith McCartney knows everyone's business at SoulHouse simply because everyone tells her what's happening in their lives & there's a lot happening in peoples lives. Family struggles, financial battles, sickness & countless other issues that cannot be shared in this newsletter as they are so deep & soulfully painful. It is in the middle of these realities that Judith McCartney takes on some of the pain her congregants go through on a day to day basis. It is hard work but it is also rewarding.
Recently, one of Judith's congregants who is a heavy smoker, shared that she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She didn't want to tell people about her condition right away as she wanted to keep the news away from her two children & grandchildren until she knew more about the diagnosis. Needless to say having to carry this burden alone is a very hard road to walk so she confided in her Pastor - Judith. For Judith it was a privilege to do as Galatians 6:2 tells us - "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Judith loves this lady & had the recent honour to baptize her a year before the bad news of the cancer came about. But now its here - a battle to be fought - a battle not to be fought alone.
Eventually this lady was able to share with the church what she is going through & SoulHouse's reaction answered the question for me of what a good church looks like? I can tell you from what I saw & experienced - a good church is a family & when someone in your family suffers we all rally around that person to do all we can to help them out. SoulHouse was now in the know & more prayers were sent out on behalf of our suffering sister. Hugs & tears were shared & now she had her church with her along the journey. She was & never will be alone. For Judith this meant taking this lady to Doctors appointments, medical screenings & sitting in waiting rooms. Waiting, waiting, waiting....
I'll never forget that afternoon when my cell phone rang. My wife & her friend just received news concerning how her lung surgery went. I heard these words on the other end of my phone - "They got it all!". Great news, wonderful news & we celebrated at a local restaurant with wide smiles on our faces. The next Monday when we had our SoulHouse gathering this lady shared her story of how her suffering brought her closer to God. How could it not? Man, she preached up a storm & once again I saw the power of house churches like SoulHouse. We are a Christian community where everyone knows everyones business - but isn't that a good thing? For when we suffer we all get involved & when we rejoice we all rejoice & when one of us shares their experience with God we all listen. SoulHouse is a real & authentic expression of Jesus - the Body of Christ!