Two experiences this weekend has brought back a familiar question. What is church? Now for those of you who may read this and not consider yourselves religious or spiritual, read anyway. I’d like your thoughts.
Saturday night we met at friends’ home along with 10 other adults and a few kids. We had dinner. We watched some football (well, the guys did). The ladies talked about kids, education, grandkids, serving others, and even sharing when each of us started our periods. When the football game was over we all got together and started discussing God, the universe and man. A dvd was started about a man traveling around the US asking people on the street what they thought about God, her followers and the church. If some of us weren’t so old we could have stayed longer and continued the discussion among ourselves. We left loving each other more and being aware of carrying each other in our hearts and minds.
This morning Brad and I attended a traditional church service. There was some prayer, some singing, a reading of scripture and a “message” of which the majority was about the business of the denomination. Now, let me say, we have attended this church a few weeks. The people are very gracious and friendly and there is nothing “offensive” about the liturgy.
While sitting in the service I kept thinking about our Saturday night experience and the question kept reverberating in my brain, “Which one of these is really church?” Now I know this is probably very subjective but isn’t anything dealing with spirituality and how it is worked out in your own life? I find myself asking questions like:
Which of these experiences caused my love for friends to grow?
Which of these experiences inspired me to be more involved in justice (or the lack thereof)?
Which of these experiences caused my spirituality to be challenged and fanned to greater intensity?
Are these valid questions to ask about church? How do we define church? In which atmosphere would I feel more compelled to ask people to join me? Is church supposed to be a welcoming of God into our everyday lives? Is church to be a place that when you leave you are a more aware person; more aware of God and of others and the condition of the world?
Of course, for me this also presents a decision. How do I find myself in this “place” on a regular basis?
Enough with the questions, now comes the answering.