Now when I say “The Church That Will Last” I don’t mean that there is some Sunday service that lasts even LONGER than yours. No, that’s not what I mean.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.~1 Peter 2:9-10
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.~Acts 2:46
I go to two churches. People in my city do this a lot. Or they hop around. This one today, that one next week. We stand at arms length, poised to get involved should something spark our interest. We desperately try to enjoy the experiences we have at church. We manipulate our own thinking until we truly believe we get fed at church. We pick at issues without ever getting real about the darkness at work. We settle. We settle. We settle. We hope this is the church that will usher us in to eternity.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one sees the Lord.~Hebrews 12:14
It isn’t the church with stained glass that will remain. It isn’t the church made of brick with accountants and committees that will outlast this planet. It’s not the church burned down with loved ones inside, nor the church whose loans force charity to be put on hold. It’s not the church with political strategy and choir boys lurking in the shadows. God’s church does not limit itself to any one denomination. It isn’t the church that you can send mail to.
God’s church does not have an address here.
But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,”…~2 Timothy 2:19a
The Church of Jesus is the one where broken people are invited to the table. Not a sacrament, but a supper that belongs to our Lord. The table where we (actually, truly) don’t care what color you are, or who your daddy is, because we are determined to love YOU. It’s the church where relationships are most important, where all voices are heard. The Church of Empty Nesters, expanding their families at their neighbors’ convenience. The Church of Telling Your Story, the Church of Learning from Young and Old.
The church that meets on front porches and on the rainiest, hardest Mondays. The church that whispers her struggles to one another in the corridor. The church that kisses you on the cheek because they haven’t seen you in 5 days. The church that sees your dirt and, rather than make you relive it, invites you to live beyond it. The church who stops what he is doing to hand you tissues as you cry. The church that prays together and stays together.
Sunday gathering of yawns and seersucker suits will fall away. Jesus did not come to make us bored and pompous.
Spontaneous weeknights of feeding 2 college students who are looking for answers creates community bound to endure. Jesus came to feed us, to save us, and to walk beside us. He does so on an individual scale.
It is the fellowship of people who give one another permission to grieve, to hurt, to cry out, to question
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.~Revelation 22:4-5