I get really irritated when I hear people complain about certain things that they have the power to change. One of these things is “church”. I find it interesting when I hear people say things like “church this week just didn’t feed me” or “I don’t like going to that church cuz I feel like I’m working – I don’t get anything out of it.” What gets to me is that these types of statements reveal that we don’t understand what church is.
What we don’t realize is that church does not consist in just a 1-hour-a-week service. Church is not a building, it’s not a program. It’s not a ceremony or a bulletin. It’s not a song service or a sermon. Church is not the carpet color, or whether there is a drum set on the stage. Church is not who’s wearing what, or whether the pastor is male or female. Church is not the Republican party. The concept of church is on a whole different level.
Church consists of every moment of my life. I carry church with me where ever I go. I am church. You are church. We are church. It is not a thing outside of me that is provided for me that I sit back and critique like a movie columnist. It’s not a spectator sport where I cheer from the sidelines or the grandstands while wearing my team’s colors. It’s not a spiritual restaurant where I can hopefully get “fed”, and if I don’t, I can write a review warning all my peeps out there of its lack of “real food”. If there is something wrong with church as I see it, it is up to me to change it and do something about it – cuz I am church, as well as you. If there is a problem, we are all responsible for it because we are church. Wherever we go.
Every moment of every day has the potential of the divine. The random moments of the day are significant holy possibilities waiting to be realized and grasped and turned into acts of worship. The way I treat my colleages; how I respond to my spouse after a long day of work; what I choose to spend my money on and how it will effect those on the other end of the supply chain; treating every human I come in contact with, with the dignity and sacredness they deserve. These are just a few examples of what it looks like to be church in the humdrum moments of life. And even when the 1-hour service comes along once a week, it’s just 1 hour in my day, of my week, of my reality of being church! It will be then that the 1-hour service traditionally known as “church” will begin to look like a different gathering, as all people present will actually be the church instead of sit in church.
So what do you do if you have a problem with “church”? I like what Shane Claiborne says: “We need to stop complaining about the church we’ve experienced and work on becoming the church we dream of.” I would go even further and say that we become the church God dreams of. Because God has already told us what church is and what it means and what it looks like. It’s us humans who have screwed things up. It’s time to set it right again, and this starts when we realize that church happens every moment of every day wherever I show up – because I, and you, and we are the church.