Quick! When I say “church” what image comes to mind?
For most of us, there’s a building of one sort or another. For years, my image of “church” was Metropolitan United in Victoria: a wonderful old stone building with a gorgeous rose window and massive pipe organ. I attended youth group and communicants classes there with the amazing Rev. E. Laura Butler [our Miss B.] Miss B mentored me, performed weddings for our friends and family and christened our children there.
From the outside, the building still looks much the same. But, it’s NOT a church…now it’s the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Metropolitan United moved down the street to join with First United to become First Metropolitan a number of years ago. That’s okay – a church is NOT the building!
But the convention that says Church Building=Church is a strong one.
So, I wasn’t surprised [but admittedly a little irritated] when it happened again today in a conversation with the insurance agent who may be arranging liability insurance for Bridges.
“We don’t need contents or building insurance” I said.”We don’t own anything other than a few books and Bibles. We meet in an independent living facility with a congregation of mostly seniors.”
“Oh, like a Bible study.” She responded.
“No, like a Church!”
She quickly backtracked, but I’m not sure she understood what I was saying. We get that a lot.
“Oh, you do that thing at the old folks’ home on Sunday morning. But where do you go to church?
“You could come to the evening service at our church. We have music and a sermon: you must miss a real church.”
So, for the record: here’s our church. We worship, we sing [that’s my husband Frank playing guitar.] We pray for and with each other. We read scripture and consider what it has to say to us. We have tea and cookies after our “service.” We even have business meetings where we talk about how God is blessing us with financial resources. (Without a building to maintain, and without salaries to cover, we’re free to hold those finances with open hands, allowing Him to direct our spending where it can further His Kingdom.)
It might not look like your “church”, and it’s certainly not about the building. But, it most certainly IS real church in every way that counts.