Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thoughts about church

Now I've known this for a while now, and some of you already know this already, but I'm sharing it anyway;

This is a collage of 615 photos I took [when it was nicer outside] for the church I attend, I was going with church architectural designs, I could talk about it but not right now.
What you see might seem like church to you, but really it isn't. For you see, the church isn't the building itself but the group of individuals, followers of Christ, "saints and sinners", believers, Christians, etc. who gather within the building.
This past Christmas Eve I attended 3 different Christmas Eve services, my pastor at The Warehouse actually invited my father and I up to partake in lighting the last Advent candle prior to the Christ candle, it was great to be with all those individuals, for better or worse, to worship and praise God in our distinct ways -- this is the church.

When I was at each of these 3 buildings surrounded by followers of Christ and those who want to be more like him, I related to the people around me, opening up to the real/authentic Nathanael, which I feel comfort, trust and security with letting people in with who I really am, when I do this people, more often than not, reciprocate the feeling and they themselves become real/authentic with me -- this is the church.

Singing songs, praying together, praying for one another and lifting one another up -- this is the church. It's about living together, building communal, intentional, relational, emotional friendships that can last a lifetime. With my intent on moving out to Southern California next year I've been pondering some things, one of them being when I move out there what will say about me pertaining to my family and friends? Sure I will keep in contact with a lot of them via facebook/email/phone/snail mail/et al. But what does it say about me? I've been a downer to myself about it all, but I've made up in my mind that if God is the vine and we are the branches, I can take leave and graft myself anywhere and continue my journey and story as a follower of Christ, the see-ya-laters won't be forever, I'll still visit IL now and then (preferably when there's no snow on the ground ), this is just a part of growing up and making roots and a life for my own.

We who are followers of Christ are the church, we need to remember that; for the times when we walk out the doors of a building we're not walking away from all, we have a chance to take root elsewhere and grow into whom God is shaping us to become.