church is not a place but the people

Posted by Teen Bean

so i know loads of time i have been told this in my life, that "the church is not a building". And i know lately i have been all about how church needs to not focus on the individual over the collective. But i was reading a book the other day on hospitality... it is a brilliant read. "Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers" by Elizabeth Newman.

she made this statement

"After all, the church is frequently identified as "the house of God". In scripture, in fact, it is not so much that Christians have a house as that they are a house (1 Peter 2: 4-6); they are knit together in the Spirit into a "dwelling place for God".

It was in the moment of reading this that, i just really stopped and thought of my life. I have always been drawn to the church; how she is, how she lives, how she presents herself a holy bride to the Christ. And above all i just want in.

I never have fit super well into what the traditional church does and more then anything i just find that upsetting and depressing. I love church... i want to be excited about her and being a part of what defines her.

In University I spent a wonderful summer studying the book of Isaiah with one of the best crew of girls i have ever had the honor of running with.

I'll bring them to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
They'll be welcome to worship the same as the 'insiders,'
to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar.
Oh yes, my house of worship
will be known as a house of prayer for all people.

Isaiah 56:5-6

this chapter burned into my heart. Sense that moment i have been praying to build this house of prayer. To see this promise fulfilled. To be an insider. Every season of my life i am reminded of this promise that is burned on my heart. But in every season i wonder... when do I get to build this house of prayer for all nation?

As I read through this book... it was one of the biggest "ahhh haaaa" moments of my life. This promise God whispered so beautifully in my ear, has been fulfilled. It was fulfilled the moment i offered my whole self to God and the moment God took up residnecy in my heart. And it had nothing to do with me building anything and everything to do with God forming everything. My individual heart, and its ability to connect through the Spirit to the hearts of all God followers, is the house of prayer... the house of prayer for all people (i.e. the church).

It was big moment because, again i realized i will not be building any house of prayer, that it is God who builds this house of prayer. It also was hugely humbling to realize what an honor it is to be loved by God in such an extreme way that he would allow me to be involved in the church by actually "being the church"!!

And so again, i find myself re-visiting and re- understand the vision and mission of becoming a "house of prayer for all people", a place of welcoming the lost, of caring for the outsiders, of living out hospitality with kingdom value.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at Tuesday, June 08, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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