I was reading in an article in the local paper about religion and churches. No, I am not here to pick on what church you go to, and I am not going to say a word about whether you go to church or not.
At first when I was scanning the article my mind was thinking, sour puss. Yes, I described this person as someone who is going to church other than Sundays to get help. She wasn’t getting the help she was hoping for. She was given various reasons and so now she is venting publicly. In a way I guess, I thought she/he was just rebelling; trying to get back with words.
As I read through the words I was a little concerned because some of this writer’s words hit home with me. I personally don’t go to church at this time, and I have written about it in past posts so I won’t get into details in this post.
But I have recognized some of the words. Elaborate churches, people sticking with people. A church on every corner. Refusal of help. Evidently, there is more to the story than what I am reading, but I have to stop and think about it.
I can remember back to a time when I was in a situation that I was forced to look to a church for just food. I went to a few in my home town on foot, as I had no vehicle; but received basically the same words. If you don’t belong to this church, we can not help you.
That always bothered me. Whether I went to or belonged to this one or that one; this wasn’t the point. The point was, I was hungry and starving.
I have seen churches in reality and on TV programs that were so big my home could be placed inside of them and never be seen. I do always admire the huge stained-glass windows. They are exquisite, especially when the light catches Jesus hanging from the cross.
I have been involved with a few churches for several years. It takes a while but I can pick out the group. By this I mean the ones who dress nice, have lots of money. They are on every board and everyone wants to be like them, well some people do.
What is a church? This comes from only my brain, my thoughts. It isn’t meant to degrade or pick at anyone. But to me, a church is a building. A cold steel, brick or wooden four-walled structure.
It can have plain or beautiful windows. It can have golden-oak doors or simple like a school door. But what is a plain or fancy building without the contents that are inside?
A church today is a place where people can come together to praise and worship God. Could we do this at the lake, out in the open, at the city park? Of course we could. What about a home or a business that has closed down. Could we convert that already standing building where many seats could be placed? Could we add a stereo with lots of speakers or maybe a piano? Yes we could.
What is the purpose of going to church on Sunday or for that matter any other day of the week? Is it to show off our clothes or our money? Is it to judge? Not in my opinion. We all know in our hearts, there is only one judge. I can see this type of behavior any day of the week. I don’t have to go to church on Sunday to get even more views of it.
My dream church would be a building. A plain building not boasting of how much money it has. It would boast of parking lots full of cars. People walking down the side-walks, anxious to get inside before they are left to stand in the back because the seats are all taken.
A god-fearing man who loves God more than life itself would not stand behind the pulpit and preach to or at me. He would walk among us, talk with us, listen to us. We would sing many songs, raise our hands in the air, praising God. We would bow down on our knees and ask God for forgiveness. We would spend a great deal of time together, maybe in circles or groups.
We would listen to each others problems. We would pray right there for each one who is suffering. When you walk through the front door you would bring food. Maybe canned, or bread, vegetables or dairy.
We would place it in baskets and after our final prayer for each other, the needy could fill their sacks to help feed their family throughout the week. Finally, there would be fellowship. Outdoors if possible; a gathering, a picnic. A time to share our food one with another. A time to get to know the new family or single person that came this morning.
A time to volunteer your time and talent would be made available, but no pushing. It is just a fact that when we feel loved and cared about we want to help. When we feel like we are equals of the heart and mind we want to dig in. We would leave the services with a sadness and yet anxious to be able to go back again.
Do we need big churches with huge investments and clicks of people or fancy clothes? No, we need a family, a foundation, a common ground. We will help each other and those that need help on the outside, just as Jesus did. No questions asked, no red tape, and if we don’t know the answer or don’t have the ability to help, we will help you find the answer.
To me, this is the perfect church. The building, the people, a common denominator of God and love and sharing. I am ashamed that this writer had an experience where these feelings arose. As I end this post, I think back to what I have read in the Bible. Jesus fed strangers. Jesus wore plain clothing. Jesus healed the sick. This is what we were born into this world for. Our purpose is to help others, share the word of God, and love one another as we ourselves want to be loved.
Thank-you for letting me have the freedom of choice to express my thoughts.