Pardon me if I've already shared this story, but bragging rights for a parent sometimes interfere with memory of who/when you shared your favorite stories. These days my little one is VERY into songs with hand motions. I cannot tell you how many times I've sang and acted out "ring around the rosy," "the itsy bitsy spider," and "if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands" in the last few weeks. One of her very favorites is "Here is the Church - Here is the Steeple" which then we move right into the song "I am the Church."
When we get to the part where we open all the doors and see all the people, I cannot help but grin ear to ear as she tries to name all of her "friends" from church. There's Mae-Mae and Geoffrey, Margaret and Frances, Ms. Natalie and Ms. Abigail, Ms. Dena and Ms. Ginny, and more. Let's just say this..."Pastor Alice" comes out very close to sounding like an obscenity. (Dr. Rogers assures me it's not the first time "a toddler" has called her this name!) But what I love most about this song and our naming of our church family over and over again is that she is learning that yes, church is more than a meeting place and more than a steeple. This is a great reminder to all of us as we patiently see our church sanctuary under construction as the roof work continues in the coming months. The church is more than the outdoor facade - and we are defined not by what we look like or even our church budget and program calendar. The church is the people!
In just a week's time I have humbly watched to see we are the church as we hold the hands of loved ones as they pass from this life into the next. We are the church as we baptize another child and welcome them into the fold. We are the church who sings and worships through hymn sings and spring concerts. We are the church as we celebrate and educate about Earth Day, learn and teach Bible stories, celebrate 90+ birthdays of our eldest members, and anxiously await the arrivals of babies through birth and adoption. We are the church as we pack backpacks full of food for local schoolchildren. We are the church as we gather for AA meetings, grief support groups, and Sunday School classes - who then bring meals to a grieving family's home.
I am the church. You are the church. We are the Church together. See you under the scaffolding soon...as we truly are, by God's grace, a Church under construction.
Grace and peace,