A lamp to my feet is your word, a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105
Venturing out on a beautiful day, I came across a banner with writing and a broad spectrum of colors in the background. Initially it was the array of color, against a mostly white backdrop, that caught my eye. However, upon further examination, what seemed to be horizontal bands of color, now appeared to be pieces of wood, shaped and stacked as if they were part of a log cabin.
The colors were beautiful, but underneath them, each piece…each log still showed signs of the grain that is part, and parcel, of wood. This background image, along with the words written across some of the logs, gave it character and made it compelling. Perhaps the most thought provoking part of the banner was the first line of words, “BE THE CHURCH.” I cannot help but wonder, what church? Is there a church that offers the experience of the words that followed (protect the environment …fight for the powerless …embrace diversity, etc.)?
“BE THE CHURCH.” Next I think, who? Who is to be the church? Is it the priests or ministers and staff, or the people who attend? Is it a combination? Is it for all to partake in?
Then, a childhood rhyme, one accompanied by hand and finger movement, comes to me. “Here is the church. / Here is the steeple. / Open the door, and see all the people.” It used to seem true. Only, I had just been to church and I did not see “all” the people.
“BE THE CHURCH.” Upon further reflection, I am sure many people already are the church, even if they are not “in” the church. In fact, I know many who take being the church to heart and strive to do so in their daily lives. Perhaps those who have left the building, do not enter because it lacks the character, diversity and integrity… because it is no longer (or maybe it never was) a place where they can truly “BE THE CHURCH.” Perhaps it is because so often, those who “run” the church forget about the people, and more importantly, lose sight of the purpose. Then again, that would be the people.
“BE THE CHURCH.” Be who God created you to be, and wherever you are, be faithful to God.
To truly serve and honor God is to serve and honor God’s people and all creation. We must remember that God’s people are ALL people.