God has us on a journey. One of adventure. Of learning. Of battles. Of love. Growth is this journey realized. So here is our story.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Remembering what "church" is for

Tonight I remembered why we have joined such an unconventional church. I have been having my doubts recently--and I guess they're always in the back of my mind--about what our church group is, why we started what we did, what direction we're headed in, and why I continue to go. This last week I heard something about a big, popular church in San Diego that offers a block of free childcare so that moms can cater to themselves once a week. I couldn't help but be a little envious of a program like that. And we left another big church in San Diego a year or so ago that was filled with mostly people just like us--young, middle-class, churched professionals. It seemed so easy to build social networks there. I've been thinking a lot about the things I miss out on by not attending a traditional, larger church...instant social circles with people like me (at least on the surface), moms groups, inspiring communal worship with a professional band, fun all-church activities, and the ease to come and go as I please. Programs, luxuries, and comfort. That's what church is supposed to be about, right? Hmmm...
Let me describe the church we are now a part of. We meet in a coffee shop in Ocean Beach, our local hippie beach town. We have an hour of eating sandwiches, drinking coffee, and just chatting with each other while the shop is still open. Then the shop closes up and we form a circle. Most of the time there are not more than 15 of us. We sing, accompanied by a single guitar, we read Bible verses, and we share our praises and concerns. Oftentimes our sharing takes up most of the hour. Then one of the several ordained ministers in our group shares a short and informal sermon. We share in the Eucharist together and then it's done. It's really as simple as that.
Tonight I looked around our circle and was amazed to see the diversity among us. All different ages and various walks of life were represented tonight. But wonderful as it is, diversity creates discomfort. As does an intimate setting and the lack of a formal structure. And yet we all push forward through the awkward moments and uncertainties and then something beautiful emerges. We see into each other's hearts and we experience God together. We don't get goosebumps because of a rockin' worship song, we don't get absolute answers from the pastor's sermon, we don't get Sunday lunch plans from shaking hands with our neighbor. We simply experience the power and presence of God by communing together as children of God. I remember now what I believe Jesus intended the body of Christ to be. And I am so, so thankful to feel that maybe, just maybe, our little group in OB is experiencing "church" as He intended it to be.

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