31 July 2005


So what is church? How do you define church? Or here's one ... where do you go to church? Jesus told Peter ... "Upon this rock I will build my church." I have to work through this every time I read it. First of all, Jesus was talking to a man, but calling him an inanimate object (rock). He renamed Simon, to Peter (or Rock). A very stable name for a very fickle guy (when you think of the cock crowing before dawn scenes). But Simon-now-called-Peter lived up to his name and became very stable, some would say zealous for Jesus. But ... let's move on. What did Jesus mean about church? How could he use a man as a cornerstone for a building? What was he talking about? What do we mean when we ask the question,"Where do you go to church?" ... what should we mean?

Here's a little bit about where I "go to church." I go to the "coffee church" as one of my fellow church-goers called it this morning. We meet in a coffee shop. We're rather informal. In fact, people get shocked looks on their faces when I wear a dress and ask me where I'm going that afternoon. "No where," I tell them, "I just have these dresses, and nowhere else to wear them." Most of the time we all wear jeans. We get antsy about technology tho. We make sure our techology is up to date and doesn't intrude too much on the worship. We're thinking about ways to include iChat or Podcasting for folks who can't be with us that week.

Here's another one of the important things we do. I just realized how important it is today. Every month we take one Sunday and devote it to service to the community. For the past year we've worked with an interfaith community service organization. But we're in the midst of looking for a new organization to work with, so this month we decided to roll up our sleeves and clean the coffee shop we normally meet in. So we paid our normal rent for our normal time. And we cleaned. We rented carpet steamers. We bought cleaning supplies. We fanned out and we cleaned. I pulled a friend aside and we scrubbed a portion of floor that I personally believe has never seen soap before. My friend doesn't think it has either. We scrubbed and talked ... about nothing and about everything. We laughed in horror at the amount of grime on the floor. We learned new things about one another. We also learned that an oldest child (me) and an only child (him) should never be put together to clean anything because they keep going until long after they should stop.

It's important to work together. It really doesn't matter what you're doing. But monks and nuns have something that us out here in the regular world don't ... they have time working together. Washing dishes is good. Painting is good. I found out that scrubbing a floor is good. But so is skewering kebabs for a meal. It doesn't matter what the job is ... putting your shoulder to some kind of grindstone side by side with others is good. It's important to your own life, it's important to their life and more it's important to the life of your community ... your "church." Way, way more important than yet another sermon.


Blogger 77sFreak said...

ah... but isn't that sermon... in the sense of Francis Assisi... "preach the gospel at all times, use words if necessary."

isn't the service and act of lovingly cleaning the coffee house a demonstration of the gospel?

yeah, i think so - and i think mars hill heard and preached a powerful sermon.

how lovely are the feet of those who preach good news.

8/01/2005 08:23:00 AM  

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