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Monday, January 31, 2011

Rustler Article for 2.3.11

What does the church look like to you? Is it the collection of people around the world that constitute the Body of Christ? Is it a memory of a brick-and-mortar sanctuary that was indeed a holy place for you? Is it an organ or piano? Is it the candies that dear old deacon handed out at the door every morning?
The church is so much to so many. Sometimes we under-emphasize the importance of the church being a place as opposed to a congregation. We’ve convinced a generation or two that the place of our worship is inconsequential and that the “church” is nothing more than the sum of the believers that make up a particular group. This is certainly true: it is the faith in Jesus Christ as risen and exalted savior that joins us to one another. But we are foolish to believe that the location of our regular worship is as inconsequential as the meeting place of any other service or club.
Baptists have a long history of rejecting anything that seems to earthly or even tangible: we’ve historically rejected creeds, formal education, and even association with Christians who differ on the finer points of theology. The consequence of our latent “separatism” has been that we have lost any moorings to a faith in “holy ground.” We feel the same sentimentality in our sanctuary as we do in those places from our pasts that have meant so much to us, which has the effect of making everywhere a “place of worship.” If every place has the same spiritual emphasis in our hearts than no place is special; no place is sacred.
I’m not advocating that we return to an ancient belief in God’s special presence in one place over another – after all, ours is the God over all the Earth from whom no one can hide their face or their sin. What I am encouraging is that we find something sacred in the place we worship because of the God whom we worship there. The church sanctuary is where the community of faith responds to God’s call week after week. It is the regular and sacred space where God’s Word is presented and the people, as one Body, receive and dwell in it for their souls’ increase.
Let’s invest in worship. Not in the P.A. equipment, not in the paint, not in the carpet. Let’s invest in worship. Let’s make just one sacred space in our lives so temporary and transient. Let us worship, together, and reclaim just a glimpse of what it means to put everything away and be present with the Lord as a community.
Come worship with us this Sunday at 11:00am. Let’s find a sacred moment in the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ in Riesel.

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