Jun 22, 2008

Let's go to church...

In Act 3, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Mark Antony gives an eloquent speech commemorating the slain Caesar.   The soliloquy, memorized by many high school students of my generation starts with this:

 

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears.....

 

As a high school student, every time I heard this speech, I had this picture in my mind of thousands of Roman Citizens taking off their ears and tossing them up onto the stage.   I know... I'm strange.   But if you take figures of speech literally, you can come up with all sorts of unusual mental pictures.

 

Another example is when we say, "The White House vetoed the bill...   Again, I picture this strange scene. The White House morphs into a large creature.   It pulls itself up out of the ground and the pillars turn to arms and legs.   It reaches in one of the windows and pulls out a large fountain pen and signs the bill.

 

If you don't know the connection, you can really be confused.   When Jennifer and I spent a summer in England we heard on the radio that "number 10.. was leaving for the United States.   For the life of me I couldn't figure out who Number 10 was.   The mental picture was of some famous soccer player with a big number 10 on his jersey.   It couldn't possibly be a Huge 10 flying over to the US. I learned later that this was shorthand for the Prime Minister who lives at Number 10 Downing Street.   I think Number 10 was on a mission for The Crown.

 

The word for church comes from the Greek word, ekklesia.   This is formed from two parts Ek = out from and Kaleo = to call.   Literally, this means "a called out assembly...   Now sometimes this ekklesia would meet in a synagogue, a home or in the public square, but there is no mention anywhere of scripture where the church meets in a church.

 

You see this too is a figure of speech.   The church isn't the building.   When we invite someone to "our church.., what we really are doing is inviting them to our building.   Except in the case of Christ Lutheran Vail, we don't really own a building.   So people can get really confused.

 

No, the church isn't the tallest building in town with the steeple.   It's each and every person who has been redeemed by Jesus Christ.   And even when we say, "come with me Sunday to meet our church.. that could be a limited view.   On Sunday morning "the church.. meets in several different buildings in every nation all across the world.   It's only a subset of the church who meets at Cienega High School.

 

As we figure out the when and what and how of a future building, may we never forget that the church is different than the structure.   The world could destroy every worship facility on earth and the church would still remain.   It remains because you are the church and you carry out her mission.

 

Blessings,

Pastor David Hook