Thursday, January 17, 2008

What Does the Perfect Church Look Like?

I wanted to share with you a piece of a blog post from a fellow blogger. So... introductions first... Alexis: Alexis was one of the first students to approach me when Adam and I began our ministry at the church we worked with in Florida. She approached me with such confidence and I remember immediately thinking how beautiful she was (she still is). Unfortunately, Alexis' family moved and she was unable to stay with us for her Senior year. However, in the short time that we were there together, I got to know her fairly well. After being her room mate on several different trips (mission trips, camp etc), I learned quickly that she was beautifully complex and quite more than a pretty face. After moving, she came back and visited and even stayed at our house a time or two and we've some how managed to get in and at of touch since we've been living at two opposite ends of the country. She is now no longer a beautiful teenager but a beautiful adult. Having said that, what I'm about to share with you doesn't surprise me at all but I thought it was quite beautiful and definitely worth passing on. I realize that I've used the word beautiful several times here but that's just the word that keeps coming to mind.

So here's the set up. On her blog, Alexis asked friends to ask her any question with the promising of answering. My question was something to the effect of, "In your mind, what would the perfect church look like?" This was her answer.

I read a story once about a man that was allowed to see both heaven and hell, guided by an angel. The angel took the man to hell first, where all the people were at a long table piled high with scrumptious, delicious looking food. But because all the people were chained and heavily shackled, they couldn't eat and looked absolutely miserable, skinny and starving. So then the angel took the man to heaven, where he saw the exact same thing, people at a big feast chained together. But this time all the people were laughing and smiling and full of joy, everyone looked healthy. The man told the angel he didn't understand, what made the people in heaven different so that they had such joy despite the chains and shackles? The angel told the man he needed to look closer. When the man did so, he saw that the chains allowed the people to feed the person next to them and everyone served their neighbor at the table, so everyone got to eat their fill. That's what I think of when I think of the perfect church, everyone serving one another and not consumed with themselves. Where the focus isn't on programs and "supposed to." A place that is really accepting and open...and not political. And everyone would be unafraid to bring their song, their words, their gifts to the table for worship because no one would say that they weren't allowed to use what they have as an act of glorifying God. It would be cool.

Amazing question...a little tough though!

Alexis, thanks for sharing. I agree, that would be very cool!