We are in the middle of a sermon series on the Church. On Sunday, June 28th, we talked about the church as a Gathering Place. It becomes clear for those who have grown up in the church, the church is very much a part of our life stories. It’s not something we should take for granted. For those who are new to the concept of going to church, you have the opportunity to start a new chapter that includes the church. Many of us were carried to church as babies. In fact, the first public place we were taken to probably was the church. We were dedicated as infants, baptized as older children or teenagers. Attended VBS and Clubs, then graduated to youth group (Woo Hoo!). Depending on what era you grew up in, you might have been at church three times a week every week. I remember when our church went from Sunday evening services every Sunday to twice a month.
The church was the center of our social life – covered dish meals, church picnics, going to other families homes for meals, Harvest parties, all night youth events, etc. Our social calendar was filled with church events. We had friends from church. Some of us met our spouse at church, grew up with them and eventually married them.
The church was the center of our spiritual life. It was where we learned the Bible stories, the books of the Bible, the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer and so much more. Most importantly, it is where we accepted Christ as our Savior, maybe in a Sunday morning service, a revival service, Sunday School class or VBS. It’s where we saw others live out their faith, they taught by example. Some had a passion for evangelism, some for discipleship and others for worship. It’s there that someone came along side and mentored us, they shared their life experiences with us, prayed for us and encouraged us.
The church was the center of the different stages of life. From birth to the grave, the church is a part of those transitional times in our lives. We were married in the church, brought our children to church, saw them married in the church, we will grow old and eventually be carried back into the church for our funeral service.
I know we say, the church is not a building, it’s the people. But, our lives are greatly impacted by what happens in the building. Memories are made, lessons learned, hope found, relationships built, lives transformed in the building we call the church. It is a huge part of our story!
4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)