Monday, September 21, 2015

There's the church!

Each morning, I drive my two daughters to school from our home in Oxnard, to their school in Camarillo - about 30 minutes away.  To get there, we take Highway 101, which is the major thoroughfare that the Edwards Movie Theater is on.  On Sunday mornings, Mission Street Church, the new church that we started less than a year ago, meets in the Edwards Movie Theater.  And each morning it is the same, as we pass the Edwards Movie Theater, both of our daughters yell at the top of their lungs...

There's the church!!!!!

I'm afraid it's unalterable.  My two daughters' associations with church will always be a movie theater - pink neon lights, movie marquis, the buttery-salty smell of popcorn, and comfortable chairs with cup holders.  For them, church is a movie theater, and the energy inside of it.  They love running in the huge atrium lobby and shouting out loud as their voices echo on the vaulted ceiling in the entry way.  They adore watching Veggie Tales in their Children's Program on a 100 foot screen.  They love the bright colors of the movie banners, and the glitzy layout of the candy counter.

There's the church!!!!

When they say this, I beam on the inside with pride.  What it means is that for the rest of their lives, my two daughter's associations with church and God and religion in general will be not with a hallowed sanctuary of mystery.  They will not think of church people as different than the people they meet with throughout the week in other settings.  They will not associate church with a certain way to dress or perceive the world.  Nor will it be with a particular mode of behavior or moral code.  Neither will they associate church with a group of insiders or power brokers who wield control over the hearts and minds of their congregants.

In a very real way, they will see church as very much a part of the world that we live in.  Church will not be a separate entity but a connected manifestation of God's love for the world that is so fallen.  They will understand in a very real way that Christ came into the world to live in the world.  Christ was not separate from the world but took the world into himself, even as he hung on the cross.  There's not an "us" and "them" when it comes to Christians and non-Christians.  We are all God's people.  Christ came to be in the world, to save the world.

There's the church!!!

And maybe their associations with church will not end with a movie theater.  Maybe when they pass a fast food restaurant, they will say:

There's the church!!!

Maybe when they go to college some day, and stroll the University campus they will say:

There's the church!!!!

Maybe when they go shopping in a gargantuan shopping mall, where people are spending money that they don't have, and making purchases that they don't need, they will say:

There's the church!!!

When I was a kid, we used to sing a song in Sunday school, that you are surely familiar with:  "I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together.  All who follow Jesus all across the world, yes, we're the church together."

Pass the popcorn!!
There's the church!!!

All For Now,


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