Monday, August 29, 2005

The Church's Place

My church has just had our last service in our current building. We are moving into a much smaller, newer venue that is completely different. West End is 100 years old, while Taft is a refurbished building in a different part of the city. If you spend any time in church you hear a lot about the church being the Body, the people, and not a building or a place. Though I hear that all the time I realize that my conception of church is greatly tied to place.

Each church I have been a part of has been defined by where they meet... my grade school church that was named after the rock formation next to it, my high school church with the orange carpet on the run down side of town, my college church that met in a high school, and now my church that is moving from a historic building into a coffee shop.

I think this is a testimony to the fragmentation of the Church, that I conceptualize it as several different bodies tied to a certain locale instead of a catholic and far-reaching community. Though it's only natural for a church community to take on its place and tie that place to its identity, I think to a certain extent we should be wanderers, ready as a family to pick up and move together, to stand on a street corner or in the desert and function as a Body. That we should extend across our places and be one with all the believers in the world.

This church is the redeemed and those in need of redemption... no walls to keep me in or keep anyone else out...every single tribe, tongue and nation...

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Very good points.
I think the architecture of a church building does have the potential to impact the people's worship while they're in that location. The former pastor of my church designed our current sanctuary as part of his D.Min. The space was intentionally designed and planned to enhance people's worship. Everything about the space's design has symbolism and meaning.

But, no, the building is not the church. It is the church universal, one great body of believers united in a common purpose to love God and others. I experienced that this Sunday as we sang songs many languages and styles from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We had our Global Music Workshop on Saturday and shared the music on Sunday morning. Our liturgist was from Zambia and one of our members from Kenya taught the congregation some Swahili. Today in Staff Meeting we talked about the logistics of allowing a Korean Fellowship to use some of our church space for their worship service. We can use our physical building to be a global church... How great is God?