There’s a church in Bon Air, VA where I usually live that has done a renovation AND IT IS GORGEOUS. We drive by it and I tell Pete every single time, “Now THAT’S a beautiful church.” On my newly begun daily walks downtown, I pass old, stunning church structures too numerous to count. I stop and take pictures. I align their spires against the sky and then take a shot. I line up my viewfinder and capture their worn, wooden doors and snap and click away. Both spire and door represent sacred space for me. The spire dares to hope that it reaches the heavenlies; the door reminds us that we must set our feet in motion and walk up to the handle and pull to gain entry into sacred space. Beautiful, beautiful images of church.
Our church, by contrast, sits in an office park. I love every wall that was painted by an amazing person named Jen who had a vision for how to take a raggety tag rundown piece of office space and make it feel like home. Our church doesn’t sit on a bustling city street or on a hill in a quaint suburban neighborhood. It is hard to find – definitely not a recommendation a church planter consultant would approve of. There are no pretty steeples or fancy doors. In fact, our doors barely function.
But this is church in the most raw sense of the word. And I love it. It reminds me of that childhood poem with accompanying hand signals: “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the door and there’s all the people.” The point is neither door nor steeple. It’s all about the people.
And whatever that means, however that looks, I can take what I know about people in my church and apply it to this stranger who sits before me in a coffee shop.
That’s what I’m learning – community gives us lessons we can take with us wherever we go and whoever we sit with. What lessons are you learning in your community? How are they changing your relationships?