On Sundays, at around 10:30 in the morning, I often go to a meeting.
It is normally held in a large building. There are lots of church there, all kinds – lovely people. There are men and women, children, babies – the old and young all gathering together.
They come from all walks of life. There are lawyers and painters, salesmen and waiters. There are butchers and bakers and candlestick makers.
The church gathers and sings beautiful love songs to God. They pray for each other and encourage and challenge each other to love greater and live bolder. Often someone speaks about the goodness of God. It’s a nice thing to do on a Sunday morning.
One day while I was out for a drive, I passed one of the big buildings where church gathers on Sunday mornings and I noticed that the sign on the front lawn said church, implying that the buildings name was “church.” I chuckled to myself. Somebody had a sense of humor.
However, over the next couple of days, I noticed these signs everywhere. I became concerned; maybe this wasn’t a practical joke after all. Maybe some of the church had forgotten what church really was.
Then one day a fella driving by my house stopped for directions. “Where is church,” he asked.
I smiled, threw out my arms and said, “you found it!” He gave me a very confused, somewhat frightened look and then quickly drove away.
He didn’t stick around long enough to share a laugh at my intentional misunderstanding. Nor to hear the rest of my joke, “where two or more are gathered…”
I don’t think he would have found that to be funny. Which makes sense, it was an inside joke. How could he know about my recent ruminations?
Ruminations about how it seems to me so many church have forgotten who they are and settled for beliefs and a building, things that are good, but can never love you, heal you or reveal your transformation.
I think when church forgets who they truly are, they become heartbroken, disillusioned and frail.
There kids who grow up never knowing they are church and that God is more than a nice guy in heaven who likes people to religiously gather on a Sunday morning.
These kids eventually start dreading “church.” They start doing anything they can to get out of going to “church.” These kids start stealing their parent’s cars and driving like madmen, ignoring stop signs and even outrunning policeman – all in an effort to escape the doldrums of what “church” has come to mean – a name for a building.