God is transcendent.
Three years ago our church consecrated a new building. The Bishop and several cabinet members came to worship that day. It was a huge celebration. The Bishop spoke words that resonated with me during worship. Words I hope never to forget: “The irony of a new building is that you have to get out of it.”
Church buildings exist for gathering and deploying. They aren’t community centers. They aren’t country clubs. They aren’t education centers. Although community, fellowship, and education happens in church buildings, their primary function is to be a place that makes disciples. And disciples proclaim the gospel to all the nations. They don’t stay still.
Many people call a church building a house of worship or a house of prayer. They do indeed function as such. But we often forget that worship isn’t bound by a time or a place. Worship is a way of life. It can and should happen anywhere. We are to pray without ceasing and we are also to worship without ceasing. Our entire lives as believers should be moving to a place where we begin to live like Jesus with skin on.
Jesus didn’t spend much time in the temple or synagogue. In fact he was a Holy Mischief maker in both locations. He spent most of his time on the sea, on the hillside, at the well, at people’s homes, and traveling from place to place.
Bishop Sue’s words were prophetic. One year ago we got out of our buildings. And for the past year we’ve been more like Jesus than we realize. We’ve prayed more; we’ve worshipped in homes; we’ve cared for our lonely neighbor; we’ve loved and appreciated frontline workers and teachers.
And at the same time we’ve been more like the Israelites than ever before. We’ve complained about wanting to go back. We’ve pointed out times when we were better off. We wondered “how long O Lord?”
I get it. We miss 2019. We grieve the plans we had. We want to hug and eat at the same table.
But if we never get out of the building, we never meet people to invite to the table.
We are shifting once again into a new normal. A more open and vaccinated normal. Don’t rush it. Be sure to stay safe. And with every fiber of your being, don’t forget that you are a child of God no matter what time it is or what building you are in. God is with you. Always.
Until Everyone Hears,