So I want to know what you think about Church? Because I think we are in the midst of watching something really incredible right now. Church as we know it is changing face. The generation before us, and even our own, to some extent, had very valid reasons for not wanting to (or go back) to Church. The excuses of hipocracy, out-dated music, hell fire and brimstone sermons, and being too young to fit in, all make a lot of sense; in Church as we used to know it. But as Christians today, and we specifically as young Christians, are given a unique and amazing opportunity to change the way our generation and generations to come will view Church. There is some damage control that still needs to be done. I have many friends who were shunned by or hurt by the Church when they were younger. For whatever reason, the Church was a place of pain instead of Grace and healing. But that is not what Church is supposed to be. In Scripture, we read of how people love the Church. Christ refers to the Church as His Bride. There is such beautifully imagery and passion behind the Church, it really makes you wonder what went wrong. (ask me that question after Fall exams and I have finished Church history).
Psalm 26:8 reads, “I love Your sanctuary Lord; the place where Your glory shines.” There is something about Churches that I am drawn to. It has been one of the great privilges of my life to be able to visit amazing cathedrals and churches around the world. The beauty of these sanctuarys and cathedrals have led me into some deep times of worship and some awe-filled moments of admiration. Some of these are because of the great architecural feats that I have witnessed: stained glass and arched ceilings that make you tilt your head back. Great gardens and statues. I am moved by the people who dedicated their lives to the creation of these places of worship. And then there are the more modern churches. Ones that have taken over old wherehouses and office buildings. I think of places like IHOP; something like looks like a store-front, until you walk in and are almost drawn to your knees by the power of simplicty. Or my own church; screens where a rock wall used to be, chairs and people where the bowling lanes ones stood. Yet, even a glimpse into the quiet sanctuary on a week night, I am moved. What is it about these range of churches that is so powerful? I have traveled from the great cathedrals in Rome, to dirt-floored churches in Africa, to store-front churches in Kentucky, and I know that the common bond, what ties them all together, is passion. Inside each of those buildings are people who love the Lord. People who sing, read, meditate, learn, and grow. In these Churches, there are prayers, miracles, hopes, tears, blessings, fear, love, anger and healing. True emotions and the freedom to worship. And when I see this commonality crossing language and cultural barriers, I think, “THIS is what Church is.”
So why do we have such a hard time sharing that with our generation? For all the faults of the Church, the wrongs and the hurts, we are given an opportunity to offer what Church is supposed to be. A place a Grace. No Church is perfect, even the called stumble. But Grace is enough to cover the sins of man and the Church. When there is Grace, there is healing. So here we are, faced with an opportunity to be part of a healing, to help create something new, yet old. We are not called to go to Church, we are called to be Church. And when we do this, we can break down the barriers that have kept others away for so long. Opening our doors to Grace and healing is more appealing than free pizza and a coffee mug.