What if the Church wasn’t Church?
I now go to a church that takes place on the street. With a consistent congregation of individuals from all backgrounds and no building, it is not what one typically thinks of when they think of the American church. Yet, I have learned so much about who God is and how He works from the absence of all the bells and whistles of a typical church and in the presence of ordinary, broken people like me.
In the church, I think it becomes really easy to forget how truly equal we all are. Pursuing righteousness slyly slips into the throne of our hearts and becomes the object of our focus instead of God. We use this shiny idol to gauge how adequate our lives are. We compare our idol of righteousness to other people’s idol of righteousness. Those who have similar ideas of what is right clump together in a wonderfully beautiful church with bookshelves filled with wonderfully Christ centered books. And all the time we are completely unaware that we lost our focus. If God was our true focus we would no longer distinguish the differences between our sins. The gift of grace would be this intense celebration that leads to utter love of everyone and anyone, even someone with whom you have nothing in common.
That is what I’ve discovered showing up each Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. to sit outside on a bench in front of a donut shop. No stained glass windows. No nice clothes. No fancy worship set. No expectations of how your life should look. There, in that place, we share in conversation on an equal playing field. Our only tools to function as a church are the Bible, prayer, a few instruments and speakers for worship, and volunteers who are eager to preach about what God has whispered to them. I do not point this out to condemn the church, just to ask what if the church wasn’t the church as we typically think of it? What if the mission of every church was as basic as, know God and love people. Wouldn’t everything else fall into place after that?
West End Stories 013 | Abby