Sunday, I got to do something I rarely get to do. I got to just go and be at church. By be, I mean, I had no responsibilities, I just went and worshiped. I grew up as a pastor's kid, so even as a kid, when I was at church, I couldn't just be, I had to BE the pastor's daughter. There is a lot of responsibility in that. I tried to escape it, I crawled under the pews and climbed the choir loft, but even those things turned into sermon illustrations and fodder for the women's' Bible study. I couldn't just go and be, I was always working.
Now I am still nearly always working when I am there. I have a million projects that need to completed or worked on. There are at least 100 things i could be recruiting for. Are the youth and kids having fun and connecting with God today, was everyone's experience a good one? Were people cared for and also challenged? Then there is that thing where everything I do can be analyzed by others in reference to my job performance. Even the way I socialize at church comes under scrutiny. You might say, rightly so, since you are always on the clock at your job too. True! It is my job, my calling, my privilege to serve the church, and so yes, I do have a responsibility to always give my best to those that I am serving. There is also that verse about doing everything as unto the Lord, so I have to think of working for him too, right? It's hard to get my brain out of work mode, and I confess even during worship my gears often start turning on work and not on Jesus.
But to go to another church for just one Sunday, and just be there with no responsibility, that was an interesting thing. I was able to just worship during the worship time. I didn't have any other responsibilities. I loved it for a bit, but as I walked out I realized, that even if a paycheck weren't tied to my responsibilities at church, that doesn't mean they don't exist.
Church isn't just for me, it's not a place for us to just relax in the presence of God. Church is the body of Christ, and I am one part, it talks about this in Corinthians.The toe can't decide it wants to be just a toe for a while, and separate. It will die, and the body will lose an important piece of balancing, moving forward through life equipment. Could the body survive without it, yes, but it wouldn't be at it's best. The toe though, it's dead, so it wouldn't survive. You could ice it for an hour or so, but there isn't much hope unless you reattach that thing soon.
Church should be a place of rest for us, but it's also a place of work for all of us, even those not on paid staff. Church is a place where we can come to worship God, and come before him in that hour or so that we have set aside in our week, but it goes way beyond that, worship is just one part. We shouldn't fear judgment and we should be able to lean on one another and rely on one another. Those things take work. There should be encouragement and people caring for one another. Those are also work. Work of bringing the kingdom of heaven here to earth. Work of caring, and work of reaching out. Work of challenging one another as we process through ourselves and our community in relation to this amazing God who gathers us.
We all have a responsibility to make church what it is. That is where it get's messy. We are taking this amazing family of God and using people to move it forward. We are people following God together, but we are just broken, messy people. So church is messy work, but it is beautiful work. It's getting our hands covered in paint to make the mural, or clay to form the vase, messy kind of work. It is a dirty, messy, beautiful community. We can just be, but we have to be together. We have to be active, we have to get our hands dirty.
The truth is none of is can just be at church because we have to BE the church.