Monday, August 2, 2010

Church happens in your neighborhood - Live Oak Value #6

You might think that the only time "church happens" is when people gather on Sunday morning to sing songs and hear the preacher preach - but you would be wrong. That's just the Sunday morning church service. The "church" is not a place, it is a people. The "church" is a community of people who believe that they are forgiven sinners because of the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

If, as Christians, we believe that we have to go to a specific place to be the church, then we are in trouble. Jesus wants us to follow him at all times and act the same way Monday through Saturday as we do when we are in a specific place to worship Him on Sunday. This means that to be the church everywhere, at all times, we need to work on two things:
1) being the best person we can be all week long, not just on Sunday when we know other Christians are watching us, and
2) acknowledging that we are all messed up in some way and allow ourselves to be as real with folks on Sunday as we are with our friends during the week.

If we can meld these two modes of being into one, then we will be living out our faith in our daily lives and doing 'church' everyday, everywhere.

Many of you might not recognize the hymn, "We are the Church" but I remember it quite well from childhood. The first line states: "I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together. All who follow Jesus, all around the world, 'yes' we're the church together." It goes on to say, "The church is not a building, The church is not a steeple, The church is not a resting place, the church is a people!"

The church isn't a place or a thing - the church is a group of people who are actively trying to follow the teachings of Jesus all day, everyday. Yes, that is impossible for us to do well most of the time but if we believe, then we have to try our best.

Church happens all around us. It happens when we offer to water our neighbor's plants while they are out of town. It happens we see someone needing help with the cart or bags at the grocery store and we do something instead of pretending we don't see their dilemma. Church happens whenever we enage with others while living out our Christian faith and principles. Church is a verb not a noun and it needs us to make it happen.


"The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence." Ephesians 1:22-23, translation The Message