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I liked sitting in church. It made me feel close to God, she says to me over a hostel breakfast of muesli and weak coffee. She’s a beautiful, young student from Belarus. She now lives in Paris as a student and is on a student exchange in Geneva. We talk faith at the breakfast table and share a hostel room. My parents were atheists, she goes on, and because of that the priest didn’t let me stay in church. 

Her eyes say one thing.

Shame.

I am unworthy. I can’t get to God. I have no mediator. 

So I look her in the eye, and I tell her the truth.

You don’t need a priest to connect you to God. You don’t need to be in a special building to connect with God. Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead, and he intercedes on your behalf before God. He is the one who connects you to God. 

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I have no idea what happened to that Belarusian young woman, our brief breakfast conversation was the last real interaction with her that I remember. But that truth – that there is nothing, nothing – that can pave the way to God other than Jesus, I have to remind myself of this daily.

If only I had been kinder to my kids. 

If only I hadn’t done that. 

If only I was better. 

If only ______. 

No. There is nothing that can make the path toward God smoother or easier to attain. There is nothing that prevents me from his presence. Anything that claims to connect me to God is lying because there is only, always one way in: Jesus. And his hand is always open, he’s the one who bends down and writes in the sand then stands up and says, Let him who has no sin cast the first stone. Neither do I judge you. He’s the one who is standing at our hearts, knocking, waiting for us to open the door. He’s the one walking with us on the road of our lives, giving us understanding, causing our hearts to burn within.

His answer to us was Yes at the cross. His answer to us today is, Yes. 

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I’m sitting in the Toronto airport lounge, waiting to fly over the Atlantic and back to my beloved family. My heart longs to be with them, and I’m here in a lounge listening to Tamil voices and Caucasian voices and news about Ebola, and I can feel in my heart the anxiety.

What if I die of Ebola, what will happen to my family? 

What if something happens to this plane? 

What if something happens to my family on the drive to pick me up?

But he’s here, knocking on the door of my heart again, walking with me on the road, he’s here in this airport lounge calling me to live church. There’s no bread, no wine, no pastor, no music. But I am living church right here, as Jesus takes me by the hand and leads me into the presence of God.

I am with you always, even unto the end of the earth. 

How about you? Where’s the most unexpected place you’ve “lived” church? 

I’m writing every day in October (except for Sundays) about Living Church , and this is Day 6 of Write 31 Days. Click here if you want to read all the posts. I’m also linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and the #TellHisStory community. 

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