My alarm goes off and I automatically groan: this isn’t the normal, monotonous early-morning denial of the beginning of a day full of classes, homework, and too many pages of assigned reading to skim through. Oh no, today of all days is much worse: it’s Sunday morning and I’ve got a date with Jesus at my local church which means I get to 1) put on uncomfortable clothes and 2) act like I didn’t want to throw my phone out the window and go back to sleep.
We all have those days where we just don’t feel up to going to church, as if stepping into the building requires us to leave our baggy eyes, jeans, and troubles on the opposite side of the threshold from the pulpit. We put on our faces of contentment and joy as we clench our coffee cups during the first few songs as if it were the elixir of life. And I know I probably do this more than anyone, actually using the excuse that I only have to go through the whole church ordeal once a week, maybe even twice if there’s a holiday or I’m feeling extra pious.
But that’s not what the church is. The church isn’t the building we congregate in for fifty minutes of worship and conversations over donuts. The church doesn’t perform better when we readjust the church pews or get a new sound system. The church is who we are when we come together with the rest of the body of Christ to do the Lord’s work with the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus isn’t just my Sunday boyfriend that I have to dress up to impress once a week. He sees me with my wounds, my worries, and most of all, my need for him to work miracles in me and through me. And he sees that every single day of the week. I have to step down to the foot of the cross and join the body of Christ: the church, in the glorifying of God.
Saying something, and doing something are two entirely different realms. What does it realistically look like to expand our conception of church beyond the walls of an edifice?