How to be the church
What a silly idea. Of all the ‘How to’s’, why How to be the church? Why would I want to be the church? It is a building made of bricks and mortar. I can think of better things to be!
When the children were young.
When my children were young, going to the Sunday service felt like climbing Mount Everest. Firstly, getting them up and out of the house usually ended up in tears, normally mine! Secondly the drive turned into a power struggle, thirdly when we arrived a tug of war ensued trying to extract the children from the car. Lastly during the service we played “catch me if you can.” With nerves strained and believing we were bad parents for not being able to control our kids, we left having been to church but not actually hearing, seeing, giving, or receiving anything.
For years we maintained this ritual until we broke. What really was the point?
As I read my Bible for answers, the words from John 2:19-21 spoke to me. “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days? But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. John 2:19-21.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
The struggle of getting the children to the Sunday service did not sit well with us. We were not bad parents; whilst we were strong in our faith, could we justify making this dramatic decision?
Church is just bricks and mortar. The Church, however, is a living temple. As such, I am a living example of it. I call myself a Christian, a follower of Christ. My ‘Church’ is often the only example that non-Christians see.
The question then is, have my children won if we don’t take them to church? I don’t have the answer.
Jesus does tell us.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39
What seemed obvious? The conflict would not bring peace. The traditional way of going to church set us against our children and vice versa. We did our best, sent our children to Christian schools and taught them about Jesus at home. We prayed together, and they witnessed a miracle or two. Jesus had to come first. Church needed to alive and living within us.
Jesus gave of himself, his love, compassion, time, healing, listening, communicating, ultimately his very life. This is church at its fullness. With Jesus as our example, this is how to ‘BE’ the church.
Were we right in making our decision? Today our children are adults. Do they live church and bring it to others? I have to be honest, two do, and one is searching. God has them in his arms, and I praise Him for that.
One last note, being in communion with other people is important, and both my husband and I have stayed in contact with the Church.
In your life are you bringing the church to others?