Please pardon me for talking about church in the summer when many of you may be on vacation. However, the church we are talking about today is the one you dream of. I've been thinking about this because I miss pastoring and preaching, because I am sending in resumes, and because...well...jut because. So have some fun with this. Tell us five things that the perfect church would have, be, do...whatever.We can dream, right?
Boy, am I grateful for Singing Owl's Friday Five this week. I've been thinking a lot (for some time now) about the perfect church. Not one that's filled with perfect people, or that never makes mistakes-- the one that's perfect for me. I have a running list in my journal right now of things I believe about church, and things that are important to me. Here's a little smattering:
- It is sacramental. Communion in particular is so precious to me. I remember the first time I noticed feeling its holiness in my bones. It was the first time I served the chalice at a funeral, and I had a deep awareness of the communion of all the saints, of how we're all part of the body of Christ-- those gathered at the altar rail, together with hundreds of years of saints before us. I still get chills at Communion.
- It is evangelical, in the sense that it affirms and encourages our personal relationships with God in Christ. It believes that God is at work in our daily lives. It fosters spiritual friendships.
- It is a place of hospitality for all-- it is a loving, safe place. It is inclusive in its love, and strong in its boundaries.
- It is open-minded, and encourages people to wrestle with the hard questions of faith, engaging all of the church in those questions, rather than handing down edicts from leadership.
- It is reverent and joyful. Gathering on Sundays is an offering of worship to God.