What is Church?

Church is a basement of three-year old’s making crafts in tiny chairs at tiny tables. Learning about the flannelgraph Jesus that wants to move into their hearts.  Church is one three-year-old in that crowd saying,  “Yes.  I want Jesus in my heart, flannelgraph or not, he looks pretty nice and good and loving. I want him there.”

Church is high and holy, orchestral piano and organ and choir, hymn numbers attendance numbers tithe numbers next to the masterfully centered thirty foot cross behind the pastor with the very loud pastor voice droning on and on and on.  Church is a little girl sitting with her grandmother in the back, feeling loved and warm and good as she hears her grandma sing along, “There is Joy In Serving Jesus.”

Church is camp, where a man up front pleads with children to understand that God is good and wants the best for them.  Church is a little girl feeling the wind of the holy spirit come alive in her chest, awakening her to a new part of God she never knew.  

Church is listening to the stories on wooden church pews at Sunday night service of men and women redeemed. The same stories from the same men and women, every Sunday night, but they were mesmerizing.  Their drinking, smoking, drugging lives turned one hundred eighty degrees to the face of Jesus waiting for them to show them a better way. 

Church is a middle school girl, wanting to belong somewhere, anywhere, drawn in by a man brave enough to love middle school kids and tell them they are important and matter to Jesus. The middle school girl believed and stuck around.

Church is a high school student, in a church van, driving the thirty sixth hour on her way home from Mexico with her youth pastor at the wheel, talking about the ways God could use her and how to prepare for a life of service, when all the girl wanted to do was stay in Mexico forever and give the rest of her life to the people in the small villages in the faraway places no one could see.  He said preparing was probably necessary, and so she agreed.

Church is Africa. Waking up and sitting on the green hills, listening to the song of trumpets floating over the hills, echoing hymns at the break of day.  Church is natures harmony in Africa, alive in the people wo love God there.  

Church is awakening to love for another, giving love back to teenagers that was so freely given to her. 

Church is giving and receiving holy communion, men and women streaming in multitudes toward Jesus and his love.  

Church is the women in India, surrounding a young woman as odd to them as an alien from the moon, praying love into her soul, praying strength and hope and joy and the power of the one true God they knew so well.  They showed the woman their strength, and she was never the same.  

Church is holding her three daughters hands in the throngs of marketplace chaos and color and smells of curry and spice and cooking oil, smiling with them, as they embrace God’s people in their hearts and see and know and feel what real love is when they reach across the globe again and again and again to love those who need love, serve those in need, awaken joy in the lives of those in distress.  

Church is Jesus on a regular street in a regular town in a regular way, waving and loving and hugging the lives of the ones around the woman and her regular house and regular ways. Church is listening to her neighbor, ancient and near her end, tell tale after tale after tale of her long adventurous life, how traveling the world for decades brought her home to the feet of Jesus.

  Church is Her love awakening to the beginnings and endings of all things new and old in the ways of Jesus in the living and breathing regular people and regular life around her.

Church is stories around the table.  Church is the love alive in the eyes of the ones that come to her home to love and be loved.  

Church is all things right, pure, noble and good.  Church is fair and right and equal and alive.  

The Church of Jesus will prevail. Love and hope and light and strength are his and theirs when they share the nobility of serving neighbors in a world feeling darker by the day. 

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