Monday, October 19, 2009
A Beautiful Day
Last year, the church I attended did what seemed like a radical thing: they shut their doors and headed downtown to walk in our local AIDS walk. I'd only been going to this church about 4 months then and it seemed so different; to exciting. The team we joined was called "Team Beautiful Day" and it strives to be the church in tangible, life impacting ways.
I hardly knew many people from the church and it seemed so overwhelming last year; there were so many people present, so much excitement. It was new and I was uncertain and yet excited to be a part of this. Beforehand I'd mention my weekend plans to my friends and many were excited and pleasantly surprised that churches were walking to bring awareness and raise funds for people with AIDS. Truly; there was such excitement in the air. I had a wonderful time walking.
This year, it seemed different. The excitement wasn't there and I can't figure it out. I had a wonderful day. It wasn't as unknown as last year and perhaps that is the reason for my lack of excitement this year. Or perhaps it was that attendance seemed down from last year. Or my church did not seem to stress it so much as they did last year? Perhaps last year it was controversial? I was talking with a friend, asking why it seemed to not be as important this year and she aptly brought up that the political climate has changed this year. Perhaps. I don't know. I wasn't disappointed this year; I think I had a better time. It was more familiar. There were perhaps less walkers from my church but I knew them all this year. The weather was nice and I just smiled and enjoyed being among friends on this beautiful day.
But something was missing. i'm not sure what it was. Last year it was so energizing; even though I did not know as many people I felt a greater connection; a sense of purpose and pride in "being the church" by getting out of the church. This wasn't just a "vacation" from church; it WAS church, just outside.
When I was in elementary school, and even in high school, at times we'd have our class outside. I used to love doing so; as it was much more exciting and a completely different experience just by a change in surroundings. We still did our studies, listened to the teacher. I'm not sure if it was helpful or detrimental to the learning process but it sure was fun, and something to look forward to.
I looked forward to today, and this surprised me a bit because I really enjoy listening and learning from my pastor through his message, so to have a Sunday not going to my normal, familiar church with it's typical schedule of events was in some ways hard for me. But I love that "The Church has left the building" tagline of Beautiful Day because, to me, Church is not JUST in a building; it's in how we live our everyday normal lives. It's in the connections I have with all. I love that. I can easily listen to some amazing pastors preach via iTunes, so it's not just about good teaching that makes a church.....yet someone like me definitely finds that important! It's not about programs because I can enroll my kids and self in countless programs. It's mostly the community. The connection. So last Sunday we still had Church; I still attended Church. I thought it was Church but looking back it wasn't. It lacked a lot.
So.... it brings me back to the drawing board. Because I want to say that Church is us; is the Body of Christ getting together, coming as one. And I did not sense that Sunday. I'm happy we walked, truly enjoyed myself but it did not feel like church.
So..... I'm wondering: What IS Church?
Posted by victoria at 10/19/2009 12:10:00 AM