A Plaguing Question
With the intensity of our church search beginning to wind down, one particular question with a whole bunch of tentacle filled arms has been whirling all over my mind. Honestly, I’ve been subtly aware of it nudging at me for the past few years, but over the course of the last few months, it’s taken on the appearance of a flashing neon sign; demanding my attention.
So, the colossal unsettling question is: (Deep breath) How much of “church” is really God?
I can’t even read that question out loud without running through it at chipmunk speed and then nervously sliding low into my seat. I’ve been a part of communities that might consider this sort of thought rebellious territory and giving it permission to leave my lips or pen/keyboard might be labeled as un-submitted. But for some reason it’s like a car wreck in my mind that I just can’t look away from. Because as scary as the question is, I think it’s one we all should be asking as we stroll through the doors of our churches and slide into the pews (even though they’re not really pews anymore…OK, some of them are).
About a week ago, I was reminded of a story from the book of Exodus in the Bible. In this story, the Israelites are wandering in the desert when God says to Moses that he’s going to give HIS people their Promised Land; everything they’ve pleading for, but that HE himself wouldn’t be going with them. Moses’ response is this:
“And Moses said to the Lord, If Your Presence does not go with me, do not carry us up from here! ...Is it not in Your going with us so that we are distinguished, I and Your people, from all the other people upon the face of the earth?” Exodus 33:15-16
What an incredible reply!! Every time I read these verses I feel something inside of me shift and align with the proclamation of these beautiful, pristinely pure words. Every part of me wants to shout out, “YESSSSS, me too!!” I could just fall on my face weeping with how deeply I want these verses to mark my life! But how many times have I been willing to forfeit HIS presence for that “thing”. How many times have I longed for value and respect and influence and joy or love, only to find myself wandering away from the one who gives it definition?? Truthfully…far more times than I wish to admit.
And I wonder how many times we’ve done this with church; where the pursuit of our visions have walked us right out of the presence of the Almighty God and into our own self-constructed promised lands. I wonder how many of our ministries have been authorized by God but are entirely void of him? I don’t want to get so far down the road of chasing my dreams, even my “God-dreams”, that I haven’t stopped to notice that I’m alone.
What would church look like if we allowed God to pick and choose all the elements of the service and also gave him permission to scrap the rest?? I’m not sure that I have the answer to that question. But I hope I don’t ever stop asking.
8/15/2015 07:56:04 am
Deep and revealing of your walk with the Lord.
8/15/2015 09:44:50 am
Thank you Dad and thank you for reading. It means a lot! Xoxo
8/15/2015 09:39:32 am
Really proud of you for writing this ! Xoxo
8/15/2015 09:43:53 am
Thanks Brookie! I love you!
8/16/2015 01:35:32 am
Love the perspective- great job. Never stop asking or listening. :)
8/16/2015 09:45:07 am
I join you with a resounding YESSSSS!!! Even in leading Worship this morning, we prayed that without God and His presence, these are just merely words, but with God and His presence to do what only HE CAN DO, healing, restoration, freedom…. come! I've done far too many things without God, so now that is why I try so desperately to seek His will and ways. Love you friend! Thank you for the courage to share!
8/16/2015 10:14:31 am
That's so awesome! Seems like this theme is on so many of our hearts. Love you girl!
8/21/2015 01:46:42 pm
Love it!! Great deep thoughts and so delightfully expressed! Did not just enjoy this, it also made me think.
8/21/2015 02:13:47 pm
Thank you friend! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I miss you and your sweet family!
8/21/2015 03:48:26 pm
I think it's the only question worth asking. Repeatedly Christ called out the religious persons if His time to let them know that their works were worthless because they were void of God and only had a semblance of righteousness. I pray Gid will strengthen His relationship with you and with all is us. The relationship is what He died for. Micah 6:8 is my favorite verse. Thanks for writing this. 😀
8/21/2015 04:00:46 pm
Wow, thank you so much for reading, Luke. I really appreciate your insight! I'm going to go look up that verse!
9/5/2015 02:32:07 pm
I'm glad you decided to share your gift and love of writing. What a great addition to your creative expression.
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Writer and fellow traveler on the road of life.