Continuing on the theme from yesterday regarding the commitments we make that define our lifestyles, I’d like to include being a church on that list. So, we have—in no particular order—homeschooling, marriage, parenting and being the church.
I think we have severely limited the scope and range of churching these days. So much so that it is reflected in our language. We now go to church, clean the church, and like the ambiance of the church on that corner over there. Most Christians know in their heads that church refers to people, not a location or structure, but our words reveal how we really think about it. Church is there or here. Today we are going to do such-and-such at the church tonight. Youth group meets Wednesday in the sanctuary; Bible Study for ladies meets Thursday mornings; Men meet every month for prayer and doughnuts at the back of the church; Sunday School for all ages is available between services in the classrooms.
I think we need to remember that we are the church. If you are going to the church, it means you are approaching a group of people who love the Lord and are working as a unit to manifest Christ’s love to the world. If you can replace the word church with the word family, you might be speaking more accurately. “I am going to the church to ask for prayer,” doesn’t require a map or a key. And just like family, it isn’t something we can turn off, or check off of a to-do list.
I do think church belongs on the calendar and should be visible in the check register, because church is important and deserves priority. Similarly, dates nights and just-because-gifts should be regular occurrences to keep a marriage alive. Shoe shopping and game nights belong in our lives if we are raising kids. But when we aren’t currently engaged in one of those particular activities, we are not less married, or less parenting. We can never be less the church. We always represent. We always are the body, the hands, the feet… Just like a wife can be a loving wife or a rude wife, she is always a wife. We may be lousy hands, lazy feet, but we are always the church.