What is church? (lower case "C")
"For the beauty of the earth, For the glory of the skies, For the love from our birth Over and around us lies; Lord of all, to Thee we raise This our hymn of grateful praise."
"O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds they hands have made."
"All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live."
"O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Vast, unmeasured, boundless free! Rolling as a mighty ocean In its fullness over me!"
"By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me --
a prayer to the God of my life."
I love to worship God and I miss worshipping Him with my brothers and sisters in Christ. There is something seemingly beautiful when two or more are gathered in prayer and their prayers come from the depth of their souls and the presence of God is felt or recognized.
I miss community, authentic community, where brothers and sisters in Christ our honest with each other and share both their joys and their sorrow, their praises and their concerns. Where people give and receive, speak and listen, and take time for one another while pressing each other to move forward.
I miss the community of service, service that is an act of worship. I miss those prayers of faith and hope and intercession. I miss the smiles and the hugs. I miss that place of life.
When I visit a church and I do not sense the spirit of God, I know that it may be a personal issue, and in fact it probably is a personal issue. Each person and each community worships God in such different ways, yet He still receives our praise.
I desire to once again be a part of a living community of faith in which the communal worship feels as worshipful as the moments in my room where I just burst forth in song. Music is such a key part of my personal time with God, why is it that this same thing is difficult for me in corporate worship of God?
Part of it is my criticalness about the service and its ability to welcome those new to the church. But perhaps, that isn't the main purpose of most churches. Perhaps they want to create a community within themselves where they know what is happening and their is security in that happening. Here my evangelistic heart speaks, but then I wonder, maybe I am wrong. Maybe a close knit family that speaks its own unique language is more attractive and hard to get at, and thus more evangelistic?
Ah, I'm just speaking a bunch of nothingness. The church is soooo diverse, has a multiplicity of identities and meanings, and thus we find part of its beauty. There is a place where each of us can find home, find that authentic community that our modern, transitive, culture desires. Perhaps it is okay for each church to be so unique that not everyone feels comfortable or welcome, but some are touched and want to meet the God that is worshipped in that place.
So, as a minister am I supposed to discover the community in which I best fit in order to serve there, or should I find a community that stretches me and to what degree, so that I grow in my understanding of what it means to be "church"?