Providing a space for spiritual exploration for adults living in an inpatient rehabilitation facility.
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” — Luke 2:10-11
Let me take you to church.
We arrive at the chemical dependency unit of the inpatient rehabilitation facility. After a prayer and team selfie, we enter, sign in, and go through the screening process.
Waiting on the other side of the glass wall is 40ish men and women who currently call this place home. They’ve been patiently anticipating our arrival (some days are long and there’s not much to do inside).
Some of the assembled congregants were court ordered here, others checked into the detox voluntarily. The gathering is not mandatory but almost all the residents come every week.
“Welcome to Higher Power Hour! My name is _______, I’m a recovering alcoholic and my higher power is Jesus!” the leader proclaims. “We know everyone who comes here is not Christian, that’s okay, no matter what spiritual path you are following, or even if you’re not really sure about this whole spirituality thing, you are welcome here, and you are loved.”
We go around the room and everyone introduces themselves, “Hi I’m _____ an addict, and my higher power is _____.” “Hello, alcoholic _____ and my higher power is______.” Increasingly over the past year more people fill in that last blank with… Jesus. One of our team leaders kicks off a conversation with a Jesus story. This is a short, three-to-five minute impactful telling of something Jesus said or did, placed in conversation with one of the 12 step principles. The community then shares reflections on the lead, and how it gives meaning to the joys and struggles of their week.
Concluding the service, the song leader strums a couple cords, “Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me…” as soon as her lone voice pierces the air, a choir of voices joins her. The residents know every word. You have not really sung “Reckless Love,” until you’ve sung it together in a rehab with people who are desperately hungry for a relationship with God. People in whom our lives literally depend on that connection with a God who “chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.”