Friday, July 23, 2004

not much time

Tyler and I are about to leave the house.  We're headed for Noah, a production at Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster County PA.  Real animals and everything.  Sounds like it could be just another goofy Christian thing, but I've never heard one person personally complain or disparage it after having seen it.  I can't wait.

I've been thinking about the blog about the church with the chains up, and Deborah's gracious response, that some things need to be preserved, and some folks can't deal with change.  She's right about that.  But what is the preservation for if it doesn't truly further the kingdom?  If people live in fear, is that ever a good thing?  Isn't one of the primary messages of scripture "fear not?"

We live in a culture of fear, I fear. :)

My friend Tony at the cigar shop and I had a talk the other day about how churches are locked nowadays.  He, an avowed agnostic, almost became nostaligic about the idea of sanctuary.  And I had to weep a little inside that the church is only a sanctuary for some these days.  As usual, I don't know what the answer is.  Vandalism occurs and doors must be locked, right?  I guess the only partial answer is this:  we are the church, and we are the providers of sanctuary - one on one - to those who need to feel there is one place - or one person - with whom they can be safe to enter in, just as they are, in whatever state, on whatever path, they find themselves.  Someone who will love them as God loves.

I guess we can make up for the fact that our doors must be locked, compensate for violence and disregard, and open the doors of our heart.

grace,

lisa

6 Comments:

Blogger michael snyder said...

Wow, well stated. Being Jesus to people is so much more difficult than offering Jesus as an antidote.

July 23, 2004 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Lisa,

I've visited your blog three times this morning--knowing I wanted to respond to it, but not sure exactly what I wanted to say. I'm still not, but sometimes my moving fingers make it come out--so here goes.

Do we, as the church, sometimes fear change because we've traded tradition and rules for walking by grace? Have we sought a comfortable place of sanctuary in a building or a religion instead of understanding that the only true sanctuary for our soul is Christ?

Christianity has become, too often, a method, a religion, a place instead of a relationship with a person. I know as I seek to draw closer to the Father's heart, I have my little world shaken. Thoughts I believed were "truth" I now see as someone's boxed religion--a religion that I bought and then climbed into with them.

The Lord allowed me to wander for several years without a "church" and I found the true sanctuary of Him.

My heart ached to go to the beautiful church Donna wrote about for time alone with Him. The idea of art, beauty, and quiet calls to me. If I found a place like that near my home I'd certainly be tempted to slip away from my busy household of four children and soak in atmosphere--but I'd go there seeking Him and He is where ever my life is, just as available in my livingroom, my car or sitting with me as I sort laundry piles. He is sanctuary.

I close my eyes and place a hand over my heart. Come Lord Jesus.

Paula
www.gracereign.blogspot.com

July 23, 2004 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

I agree Paula. If all we are supposed to do is go worship in our safe, me-style havens once we come to faith, why does God bother leaving us on this earth at all? (Okay, other than to take care of our kids, etc. etc. I get the whole physicality of it all, really I do.) But the point is the same. *God doesn't need us to come to church.* I think we really believe that we're showing up for His sake and not for ours. I know I do. I used to think, (before I started leading worship) Oh goody, I've done something for God today. Just sitting there in church. What? God doesn't need that! But serving is another matter. It's how He chooses to work, using schmoes like me. Which is a complete miracle.

And what is my chief business? The redemption business. In all areas, not just spiritual.

July 24, 2004 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Jaime H. said...

>>>>*God doesn't need us to come to church.* I think we really believe that we're showing up for His sake and not for ours.<<<

I understand what you're saying, I think. It's not about us, it's about Him, and I agree with that. We should go to church to worship and focus on Him, not to gather tidbits for the gossip circle (or whatever).

But in Hebrews chapter 10:25, it says, (some context verses added)

10:21
And having an high priest over the house of God;

10:22
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

10:23
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

10:24
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

10:25
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

(sorry...born, raised, and love KJV)


As Christians, we are commanded to assemble together for spiritual purposes (aka church). The building is irrelavent, but the reason is not. I know for myself that, being human and sinful, I *need* the regular fellowship of other believers to help me keep strong in the faith. I don't think the Christian life was meant to be lived out alone, and in this aspect, I think that God ordained church to be for our benefit. Being with others helps us hold fast our profession of faith, and enables us to provoke each other to love and good works, and to be provoked by other people.

July 24, 2004 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Exactly. The real recipients of church, or gathering, is us. We need that. That's what I meant. Obviously my communication skills are lacking today! :-)

July 24, 2004 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Jaime H. said...

No, no...I'm sure I just didn't read carefully enough. I really shouldn't try to do two things at once, especially when I first get up. :-)

July 24, 2004 at 8:38 PM  

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