Remember that little rhyme from when you were a kid? With your hands folded together, and your fingers pointing down inside, you started out…
Here is the church
Then your index fingers shot straight up…
Here is the steeple.
Then your thumbs flew out…
Open the doors
And you wiggled all your fingers that had been hiding inside your hands…
See ALL the people!
I used to do this all the time when I was little. It actually looked just like the church I attended, with it’s big doors at the center front of the building, and it’s soaring steeple set against an azure sky.
I have beautiful memories of that church, and the colorful cast of characters within its walls. They were very much a family to us, even though we had our extended, biological family there in town. They were still the ones that were called to pray by starting the Prayer Chain with a single phone call. They were still the ones who brought food, and visited in droves if someone was ill or in the hospital. We all checked on each other quite often, and gathered together outside of Sunday services. We helped each other welcome new life and say farewell to those traveling to their next. We were built up in each others’ presence, while edifying our big God.
I’m thinking about this today because of a phone call I was privileged to be a part of yesterday. It was a three-way call between me and two of my dearest friends; three women in three different states, and one of them is facing cancer. She caught us up on what’s happening there, and then other updates were given between the rest of us, but what we really talked about was God. God the healer. God the provider. God the comforter. The one – the ONLY – God. We built each other up. We reminisced about the crazy way He brought us together and dreamed about how He would continue to use us as a team. And then we prayed, and praised, and pled, and made much of the God whom we love and trust.
When I hung up the phone, I felt exhilarated. I had been to church. It was no less a church experience than that of my childhood, and certainly in my adult life, where the older I get, the more church seems to be about buildings and cool lighting and smoke machines. If we get stuck in the building, folks, we’re missing it altogether and are of no real use to a world who’s in need of more. Those women, though not related to me by blood, or even proximity, are family to me, sisters in Christ, who are for me. We have no walls that define us as “church” but that’s what we are.
And that’s what we all are.
We – you and me – believers in, and followers of, the one – the ONLY – God, are THE CHURCH.
Forget the walls, forget the steeple.
Tear down the doors, and see – REALLY SEE – all the people.
Then, maybe then, we can get around to making much of our big, marvelous God and be the church we were intended to be to a world in desperate need.
“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans 12:5 ESV
“But Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” Hebrews 3:6 ESV
“From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:16 ESV
“Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me…” Isaiah 46:9 ESV
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Wow what a fabulous post in so many ways!! God ask us not to forsake assembling ourselves together for the very reasons you stated. The church building doesn’t become “The Church” until the people enter…Endearing memories flooded back to me thinking about our wonderful church where you kids grew up. This post reminds me of the Gaither song, “The Family of God”…Remembering the little church rhyme you do with your hands filled me with big smiles!! This post has been a nice way to start my morning!! Thank You!! <3