This past Sunday I got up early and headed to my parents’ church to surprise them with some cookies and snag a hug or two. Then I headed to my own church, which starts later. On my way, it was pretty obvious the only people on the road on that frigid Sunday morning were church goers. I mean, where else would the elderly couple driving well below the speed limit in a Grand Marquis be headed? I passed by several churches where parking lots were slowly filling. I ran into my friend at Starbuck’s on her way to church. And then I finally arrived at my church. Whew!
A few thoughts were swirling around in my brain as I planted myself in my usual row:
- I’m home! Happy to be with people I am coming to know and love. And how great it is that God places each of us in just the right church family in each season of our lives. (I’m coming to recognize that our lives truly are lived in seasons.)
- We have nothing to fear just because not everyone worships like we do (amongst those of us who call God our Father and trust Christ as Savior). I think God is more accepting of diversity in and among the body of Christ than we are. We know we’re supposed to accept each other within the local body – the local church. But why do we have a hard time accepting and embracing other local churches in the body of Christ at large?
- A while ago I read a great post about competition vs. collaboration among churches. For some reason, scenes from the animated movie, An American Tale, keep popping into my mind. Remember all the little mouse families, huddled together in their mouse holes in fear of the big cats? Only when they emerged from hiding and banded together were they able to make a difference. What if we all recognized our place in the body of Christ and envisioned what we could accomplish in our communities together? What would happen if our local communities saw the people of God pitching in and being the hands and feet of God where the needs are greatest?
- As followers of Christ, God is continually growing us into the people he needs us to be. Wouldn’t the same hold true for churches . . . isn’t transformational change a given? But I think we have to dismantle, or maybe allow God to dismantle, some of the boxes we put around our church experience in order to truly allow God to work.
Church. It’s a beautiful thing.