I heard something else in church this week. I was having a conversation with one of my buddies after church, just kind of chatting, goofing off, and chewing through some stuff we had been learning about our own church. (Within our church we have just been going through a period of self-analysis, with outside assistance—if that makes any sense!)
My buddy makes the comment: ”I didn't know 'church' was a verb.”
I just stood there with my mouth hanging open. Finally I told him: “That is such a deep thought, that it is going to somehow end up in my blog.”
He was quite thrilled that his comment was going to spawn a blog entry! (lol!)
Meanwhile, I'm thinking: Is church a verb? Should it be? Most importantly, what significance is there in the question?
Let's look at that.
"Verb." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 4 Nov 2007, 04:52 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 13 Nov 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Verb&oldid=169096834>.
Wow! It almost is as if the particular individual who wrote that definition was thinking about church as he or she wrote it!
should denote an action (acting like a family):
John 13:34, 35 "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples--when they see the love you have for each other." The Message.
is also an occurrence (the act of getting together:
Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Good News Bible.
is also a state of being (together we are the body of Christ):
1 Corinthians 12:27-29 You are Christ's body--that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything. You're familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his "body": apostles prophets teachers miracle workers healers helpers organizers those who pray in tongues. But it's obvious by now, isn't it, that Christ's church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? The Message.
So, what is the question?
Are we content with just getting together, having warm fuzzy thoughts about God, and then going home, having done 'church' for the week?
Or do we realize that really, 'church' means 'family' means 'loving' and 'living' and even 'fighting' when necessary? 'Church' means 'Kingdom' means 'action' not just 'building' or even 'group of people'.
Yeah, I think church is a verb. 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. It includes, but is not limited to, supporting your brothers and sisters, reaching out to your neighbours, loving people made in God's image.
I think if we get more into the 'state of being' the church, we won't be hung up on 'doing' church. It won't be a list of rules, but a way of life.
Sounds basic, impossible, and absolutely necessary.
John 13:34, 35 "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples--when they see the love you have for each other." The Message
It fits in with the book I'm reading—Repenting of Religion by Gregory Boyd. (Don't you love how God says the same thing to you in 7 different ways?) I think it is something our particular group of Christians that meets together [church] is doing fairly well, but can always improve on. As Boyd puts it, we are loved by God, are to love God, and to love everyone, all with the same unsurpassing love that originates in the God who is love.
Salvation, worship, fellowship and evangelism are all results of beginning to understand this incomprehensible, unsurpassing, love. I accept God's love for me (salvation), I love Him (worship), I love the rest of His family (fellowship), and I love those who haven't yet accepted His love (evangelism). [As an aside, I believe evangelism is more about loving people than it is about preaching at them.]
So, I think church is a verb as much as it is a noun. I think it is most of all a state of being. It often involves action, and even an occurrence once in awhile!
Thanks for stirring my muse, Dono!
I Am the Church
I am the church, you are the church,
we are the church together!
All who follow Jesus, all around the world.
yes. we're the church together!
(1) The church is not a building,
the church is not a steeple,
the church is not a resting place,
the church is a people!
(2) We're many kinds of people,
with many kinds of faces,
all colors and all ages, too,
from all times and places.
(3) At Pentecost some people
received the Holy Spirit
and told the good news through the world
to all who would hear it.
(4) And when the people gather,
there's singing and there's praying,
there's laughing and there's crying sometimes,
all of it saying:
Text: Richard Avery and Donald Marsh. 1972; © 1973, Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream. IL 60188 (800-323-1049).