Sunday, September 27, 2009

Church


Hello again! Thanks for coming out to my party. I made a lot of new friends and it was good to hang out with some old ones too. Sorry we ran out of food, especially the guacamole, Ane.
I know a lot of folks don't post on Sundays. I'm not exactly sure when or how often I'll be posting. Could be once a day or a few times a week. It'll make things interesting for you.
Today, since it is Sunday, I'd like to talk about church.
What does the word mean to you? Not what it's 'supposed' to mean, what you've been taught to believe it means, but what does it really mean? First things first, lets take the gloves off. This is not a 'my church is better than your church' discussion, nor is it meant to be an opportunity to bash your church.
I'm just curious.
I think man has so many different concepts of this idea of church that I have to wonder if anyone is getting it right, and how do we know what right is anyway?
If you don't go to church, don't worry, you can still join in. I am interested in whatever anyone has to say, but of course I'm going to delete anything that could be offensive to anyone.
I had the unfortunate privilege of attending a proper British boarding school for a few years of my life. Every Sunday we'd put on our hideous school dresses and walk down a winding country road, through a quaint little village and into the doors of a building very much like the one in the picture. I didn't understand much of the service even though I'd attended church all my life. But I do remember that sometimes sitting in that place reminded me of home. I'd have to blink back tears or the floodgates would open. It was so easy to think about my parents and my dogs, and my friends I missed, and long to be with them. Now I wonder whether that longing was for something else entirely.
I know some will say God is everywhere, you don't have to go to a building on a particular day and time to find Him. This is true. I could stay right here at my kitchen table this morning, take in the beauty of the ocean before me, and worship. God and I could have a sweet old time. I wouldn't even have to get out of my pajamas.
So why the alternative?
I've always wanted church to be about community. I believe it should be a place where one comes to share faith, worship together, BUT also lay our lives down for one another. I don't believe church is about doing duty, putting in the required time and living like you've never heard of God the rest of the week.
I can tell you my story at the rest of sharing more than you might want to know about me. Here's your chance to exit the blog if you want, or stick around. Maybe I'll learn something from you.
I've been in a few churches in my lifetime and I'm not sure I fit in any of them. I can't pinpoint the exact reason, not really. I guess I'm in the process of searching, learning, growing, and waiting.
I want so much more.
I'm impatient. Tired of the status quo and rebelling against the fact that I have to settle for it.
And then there's the guilt that comes along afterward, pointing fingers my way and telling me I have no right to the feelings I'm experiencing. I am after all, still just stumbling my way through this life, and sometimes on the odd occasion, I get it right.
I have a feeling that my image of church is probably not going to be realized in my lifetime. So what do I do in the meantime? Where do we go, how do we worship? Perhaps you've been in this place and can show me around.
I could use a tour guide.

7 comments:

Jessica said...

Church is in iffy word. To me it means two things.
Religion.
Family.

Like, I think about the church of Christ, like it's used in the Bible. That gives me a good feeling.

But church as in religion? NOt so good. Like you I definitely think it's a place to fellowship with other believers and learn, but sometimes I think we might have the whole thing wrong. The way we do it, I mean. I don't know, but I understand your mixed feelings because I have them too. :-)

Catherine West said...

Thanks, Jessica! I appreciate your thoughts. I enjoyed a really awesome time in 'church' this morning, so I feel better, but I'm still pondering the whole thing!

Katie Ganshert said...

Church to me means gathering together with other believers and worshipping God as a community. It's a form of fellowship and an opportunity to learn.

What a great discussion!

Katie Ganshert said...

Church to me means gathering together with other believers and worshipping God as a community. It's a form of fellowship and an opportunity to learn.

What a great discussion!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

to me, the word "church" means a place. "body of believers" meet IN the building or tent or home. i think community with other believers is so important...but it doesn't matter the "where" that takes place.

jeannie
Where Romance Meets Therapy

Jody Hedlund said...

I see that you got the Word Serve Logo! Looks great!! :)

Being apart of a body of believers is a Biblical principle, something God commands us not to give up. So, finding a group to meet with is something I do out of obedience. Even when we "sinners" rub each other the wrong way, I'm confident that God has a purpose in me being apart of that family, just as he has a purpose with the blood family he's given me.

Kirk said...

Hi Cathy,

What a deep and interesting topic to bring up and I hear the ache in your soul when you poured out your heart with this.

It's an intersting question: What is Church? Why do we go? Why are there so many? How do we know which on is the right one to go to?

I struggled with these myself. But in the end, all I had to do was listen to God to find the answers.

And he speaks to us through His word--the Bible.

"So Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God" -Rom 10:17

The word Church was translated from the Greek word "ekklesia" which means assembly of people. So church is not a building, nor place, but a Body of belivers.

In Mat 16:18 Christ said He would build His Church. And when we are "In Christ" we become part of His body of belivers.

Whats more the bible tells us why its important for us to assemble with the body.
Heb 10:24-25 says:-

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

So what's the purpose of the Church?

To exhalt one another!

Because we need to continually encourage and reinvigorate ourselves.

Christianity was not designed to be a solo experience. God knew that we would need the help of fellow belivers to stand against the struggle with the adversary.

And thank God he told us how :D

I know for me personally, you can just get too beat up by the world that sometimes you don't even feel like going to church. You're tired. You may want do do other things. But when I finally do go, I always feel better for it, because my Brothers and Sisters and the word of God has encouraged me to continue to worship and serve Him and to continue to do Good works.