The church isn’t a building it’s a way of life

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But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. Luke 14:13

It’s common to see a parade of wheelchairs being pushed the few blocks to the church from the nursing home and rehabilitation center down the street.

Once the parade strolls and rolls into the building, the wheelchair bound get seats front and center.

With arms raised they worship.  Boy do they worship.

I can learn a few things from their abandoned style.  Wholly free, carefree, free indeed.

Bound by their chairs physically but free in the Spirit.

I have observed this group and worshiped along side of them for several weeks now.

Then there’s the homeless people, from the inner city, whom can catch a ride on the church bus that travels through the city offering rides.

I’ve been in awe watching them worship too, some with arms raised, some with tears streaming down their faces, some with expressions of joy, some with shouts of joy and others more contemplative.

I listened to conversations with them afterwards.  They expressed gratefulness for being accepted and included many with tears.

Then their stories.  Why, how, when.  Some talked about church growing up and how worship was for them back in those days.

Yes, some grew up going church and then…

I listen.  I see.   I’m touched and I learn.

Many in the church know the names of the homeless and extend friendship.  When the pastor announced  that one of the men passed away on the streets one week I could hear the care, the grief and the loss in his words.

On Super Bowl Sunday the church gathered together for a Party.  That’s common.  Many churches gather their flock together all over the U.S. on that day to watch the game, eat snacks and cheer for their teams.   They party together.

This one was different.  The parishioners received an invitation to serve.  That’s right.  They were throwing a party and the guests of honor were the homeless.  A T.V., the game, a meal and a blessing–were all part of the evening.

I listen.  I see.  I’m touched and I learn.

These people, my extended Spiritual family welcomed Bob and me in when we wandered through their doors looking for a place to worship one Sunday and we stayed for almost 3 months.

Our last Sunday with them will be on Palm Sunday and then we will head back to our home church.

Last week two wheelchair bound worshipers were on stage with the praise team helping to lead worship.

Monthly the worship team from church heads down the street to the nursing home and rehabilitation center to enjoy a worship service together.  The gifts and talents exploded from the residence as some came out of the shadows to sing.

Now occasionally they will help lead worship at church.  They will become part of the team.

I listen.  I see.  I’m touched and I learn.

In the wake of the recent news reports when all seems so overwhelming and almost hopeless, I’m brought back to truth, just the simple truth that there’s still hope, love and a way to live differently to impact others one soul at a time.

As I approach Easter, it’s that message that I want to carry long after I have to say goodbye to this band of Jesus followers–the Easter people–the people of this church that Bob and I have grown to love and admire.

They don’t just go to church they are the church and they declare that statement weekly at the end of each service.  Their words resonate with me…”We don’t just go to church we are the church!”  And they don’t just say it, they live it.

Blessings!

Nancy ❤

12 thoughts on “The church isn’t a building it’s a way of life

  1. Oh, this touches me so deeply, Nancy! What a wonderful example of what we the church should be! Stirs me to pray I become this that much more. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m right there with you! I’m being stirred to become more like what I’ve seen lived out before my eyes the last few months too.

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  2. Nancy,
    I love the resounding message of how church isn’t about a place but a body in action.
    It’s not particularly a new idea yet a lesson we fail to master.
    Thank you again.
    Gina

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  3. I so love this message Nancy. Yes, this is how the church is supposed to be…how Jesus wants us all to be and how we still have much to do ti be as He is.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Two things…
    First, this makes me think of my dad, who always dressed for church in his suit and tie but said the best church and the kind he wanted to go to was one that would accept you in a t-shirt.
    Next…this looks like a pretty little church I remember on Kauai…???
    Sweet post.

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    1. The church in the photo is not THE church. I enjoy photography and have files of photos that I’ve taken to use on my blog and just grabbed a church photo for this piece. 🙂 This particular photo was taken in Florida. I agree with your dad! A church should be a place of inclusion not exclusion and all who walk through the doors should be accepted. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nancy, I think the church you’ve just described is one that Jesus would love. Thank you for sharing this inspiring place with us. Our church is adding on more room. This gives me food for prayer as I consider who God wants to come and fill up the new pews.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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    1. Thank you for reading this piece, Wendy. I’m happy to hear that it stirred you to prayer. I think this church makes Jesus smile. The testimony and example of this body of believers has given me a lot to think about and pray over as well. Blessings!

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