Ok, maybe not quite yet, at least in the way we tend to think about church being open. Churches around the city, state, nation have been “closed” for months now; doors have been locked, events have been cancelled, sanctuaries have been sitting empty. We have been waiting for the time when church can “reopen,” yet, while I was out running this past week I heard God telling me, loud and clear, Church is Open.
I was running through an area of our town that is not the nicest, to say the least. Houses are a bit rundown, parks are littered with trash, clothing, human excrement, and people were sleeping on the tables and on the sidewalks. There were homeless people who were obviously struggling with shelter, food, money, security, health, mental illness, addiction, and I know that many in the houses were struggling with the same, not because of the area of town, but because I don’t know a single family anywhere that doesn’t struggle with some of these things. Regardless, I was struck with this thought.
Church is not closed. Church is Open. This is what God impressed on my heart, and here’s why. Church is not the building or the facilities. It is not the worship service, the teaching, the music, the coffee, the games, the crafts, the food, the events. Church is us. It is you and I, and we are the church regardless of whether or not the building is closed and locked. As I was running past these sorta scary and kinda gross areas, parks, homes, people, God placed spoke these things to me.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
Since we are the Church, if we are doing God’s will and His work, if we are reaching out to those around us in need, whether those people are homeless, addicts, sick, or our family and neighbors who seem to have it all together, then the Church is open. However, even if all the buildings are unlocked and there are events happening all the time, if we, as individuals, as Christians, are safe in our comfort zone, not reaching out to the world around us, not letting others know their identity and value in Christ, not helping the “least of these” then the Church is closed.
So I would challenge you, as I am challenged, is the Church Open in your life? What can you do to reach out to the world around you, to the neighbors and fellows citizens of your city, to share the love of God, the hope of God, to reveal to people their identity in God. Let this time of the church building being closed be an opportunity for God to make sure that the Church is open in you, and then keep it open, even when the building opens back up and we get comfortable again in the events and schedule, don’t let the Church close in your life. God’s Church can do amazing things in our city and lives, so let’s see it happen and be a part of it!