I’ve got a friend I haven’t spent that much time with but feel like we’ve been friends since we were two. I think we both think about a lot of things in similar ways with some differences thrown in to keep it lively. One of the things we’ve been discussing lately is “church” – how it’s done, what it means and why we go. Something he said the other day really struck a chord with me and I thought…
“Isn’t is odd that we try to define and confine to certain standards something (church, that is) that Jesus was doing that was radical?”
I’ve often said I grew up being taught the “Gospel of Attendance” and heard often, “do not forsake the assembly” as the mantra for who we were and why we did what we did. Guess what? If the assembly is trying to live out the Gospel by convincing the Baptists to dump the piano and that the “Church of Christ” is a non-denominational, singularly correct church, then the assembly just might need to be forsaken.
God-in-a-box isn’t what I read about in the Bible. I’ve spent years listening to teaching on instrumental music, baptism, women’s roles and other areas of “worship” and there is so little of that in the life of Jesus, the true Gospel. Jesus told Peter he was building his church “on this rock” but it wasn’t a physical rock Christ was talking about, it was the heart of a man who wanted to be a disciple.
We don’t find church on a street corner, in a big building with a nice sign out-front and ample parking for hundreds, if not thousands, of people. WE FIND CHURCH IN OUR HEART’S DESIRE TO BE A DISCIPLE. We don’t find church as acts of worship, we find church on the streets, we find church serving the poor, the broken, the orphans and widows, the homeless and hungry, and we find it in reaching those who have so much (materially), they do not understand or have a passion for what they lack (spiritually).
My life has been pretty easy. I’ve had more than I needed and it was easy to sit on a pew and enjoy the show. Nod my head and talk about what a great lesson the preacher laid down on my way to Luby’s. That was church for me for far too many years.
I now find church in my vulnerability. When I am willing to be transparent about my life, my decisions and my actions, I often find church. When I am willing to sit with a drug addict, or in a classroom of them, and tell them our life worked out differently but our hearts and our heartaches have traveled many of the same roads AND God still loves and is ready to embrace us, I often find church. When I’ve sat on a creek bank with men who were homeless and when I’ve cried all the way home leaving them in 108 degree heat while I headed back to a working A/C unit, I often find church. When I talk to a true friend, one I can be completely honest with, and share my heartache, my brokenness and my fears, I often find church.
Do you want to know if you are doing “church” right. When your life looks like Christ’s example in the Bible, I’m confident you’ll know you are on the right road.
I say all of this boldly also knowing I have so much to learn about what being a disciple means. This is where my heart is today. It’s where Jesus is leading me today. When I get it all figured out, I will be sure and lead with that. Until then, I’m just pouring out what is on my heart and my mind. God, give me grace.
Grace and peace/Kica Ki Kuc