Friday, January 2, 2009

Such a nice Church.

Morning God,
I really need to talk to you about this 'Church' business as it's giving me serious cause for concern. I wake up wondering if and how it could be made more 'community' and less 'social club' - more YOU and less - well - carpets and committees. I know that we need some organization, I know that structure and form can grant dignity and 'presence' - but we are so well structured, so neatly organized that there is no room left for the messiness or risk of incarnation. We've hoovered up for you God, and it's all spic and span. And no, I don't just mean the carpets - I mean the worship, the pastoral care, the ministry and the Bible too.
Don't get me wrong - I love the fact that I minister in such a beautiful Church, so well looked after, so clean and attractive... and yes, I do realise that not everyone has such a pleasant place to lead worship in... but I worry about how successfully our being a 'nice' Church allows us to hide our emptiness.

I'm afraid that all too many of the congregation come to Church, they don't come to YOU... don't you mind?

Or have I totally misjudged the situation - I may have, after all, it's not easy to think of Church from your point of view.

Is it perhaps enough for you that your people come to a warm building, meet with friends, sing words that are at least familiar, even if they are no longer understood, hear the Scriptures read, have their prayers said for them, have a 'nice' service..?

Is this how you designed it, intended for it to be?

I'm asking because, I can do 'nice' if you want... if that's really what its about... but if it is, can you please explain to me why you have given me such a longing for something more for them. You see, the more I love your people, the more I want them to KNOW you, and want them to want to come, not to talk ABOUT you but talk TO you - and not through me either!
I dream of them wanting to meet with you even if the Church isn't clean and bright and warm.
You have given me a vision of a people excitedly coming to you so that they can be transformed and can grow in grace, discover abilities they never knew that they had so that they could then, in your name, work to change a world for the sake of a Kingdom - instead of just going on the coffee rota.
Ahh God.. such a big vision for such a little person
- and such a nice Church...

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