Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Church Is All About - Part 1

A long time ago (back in the late 1970’s, I think), Word Music released a musical with Ken Medema’s songs called “The Gathering.”  It was all about church being a safe place for us to be honest about our brokenness and struggles in order for everyone to find help and healing. We rehearsed but never performed it in my Youth Choir, but Medema’s words struck a chord in my teenage heart … and they struck it loud. I wish I had room to share Medema’s words with you (maybe later), but those words echoed back to me this morning as I listened to a podcast this morning.

In a message recently preached at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan (yes, the one associated with Rob Bell ... get over it), Steve Argue (wouldn't you love to have that name?) made the following observations:
Every Sunday around the world the faithful gather to celebrate the resurrected Christ and in this corner of this time zone this faith community gathers as well, and you know who comes here? There are people that walk in here with smiles, and there are people that walk in here with puffy eyes because they’ve been crying all night. There are people that are walking in here that are just excited about the week that they had, and there are other people that walk in there and they are literally crawling to see if they can actually make it to the grey chair. There are people with hope, and there are people with despair. And somehow … as we all come together, we attempt to worship God together.
And in an authentic community, in a place where there can be safety and trust, we actually let our guards down to actually be honest with one another. And as this community, we say together, “We will sing together.” And there will be some of us in this community that will [say], “Today, I can’t sing.” And you know what we say as a community? We say, “That’s OK, because we are the community of God and we will sing for you.” There will be times that we … gather as a community and we will say, “We will pray.” And there will be some people … saying, “I can’t pray today.” And as a community of God we say, “That’s OK, because we will pray for you. That’s what we do.” And there will be people that will say …, “We will have faith,” and, “we will believe.” But there will be some of us here on this particular day going, “I don’t have the energy to believe. I have doubts that are plaguing my faith and I don’t know what to do.” And as the community that’s authentic with one another, we say, “That’s OK because we will believe and we will have faith for you.” That’s the church of Jesus Christ.
That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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