Here’s the church…
Here’s the steeple….
Open the door….
And here’s all the people!
Remember doing this as a child? I do…and I remember smiling at my little wiggly fingers as I turned my hands inside out.
I also remember wanting to desperately be part of a church- part of a church where our lives intertwined… and we called each other “family”. I didn’t have a “church home” growing up. What I didn’t know back then was that church is not technically a building- we are His church. We are His hands and feet… being Christ-like wherever we go… not just within the four walls of a church.
But what if instead of “going” to church we lived with the idea that we are “bringing church” with us- everywhere we go? We are His church.
No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Luke 11:33
I made a new friend the other day. I happen to have my girls with me, and they were seated at a table in a coffee shop. As I waited to order coffee, ahead of me in line stood a woman and her friend. I love people watching and thinking about their lives… where they have been…where are they going….are they happy? My thoughts wandered and then it was time for me to order. I ordered my unusual usual drink, and stepped aside to wait for it. The barista rattled off my unusual usual drink and to my surprise, the lady ahead of me in line reached for the same drink.
“You ordered this, too?” I asked her.
“Yes!” She said with a look of surprise.
“Why, I guess that makes us coffee soul mates!” I cheerfully said to her.
And then the funniest thing happened…we began finishing each other’s sentences.
“I always order soymilk….”
“…and it’s already so sweet…”
“it doesn’t even need sugar!” we say at the same time…
and then it dawned on me that I knew her.
“I know you! You work at (one of my favorite stores)!
And then we chatted like old friends. We formally introduced ourselves to each other and that was that.
“Come see me soon!” She said as we finished our chat.
“I’ll do that!”
I noticed my girls giving me funny looks from across the way as they watched us chatting. When I walked over to them, one of them said, “Mom, why do you always have to talk to people?”
“Because I like making new friends, honey. People need friends.”
And I certainly don’t think it was a coincidence that I knew her, that we were in the same line together, and that we ordered the exact same drink. That sounds like a God-incident to me. We are all connected in some way. He just used a good ole’ cup of joe to show me on this particular afternoon.
People need friends.
And people need Jesus.
I believe He’s always at work- placing people in our paths and on our hearts to reach out to. Making small connections with people, building relationships for His purposes. And just maybe they might get to know a little about Jesus by getting to know you- through some small act of kindness, a smile, an encouraging word. Not that we shouldn’t invite people to come to church, but we need to be the church- to everyone we see… everywhere we go.
I want my girls to know that being part of His church is so much more than going to a place on a Sunday morning. It’s so much more than just knowing and loving Jesus. It’s putting this love into action- He wants us to love people and to be His hands and feet… and it begins the moment we step outside those church doors.
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words- Francis of Assisi