I came here as a Christian missionary, totally not having any idea what exactly a missionary was nor entirely sure I wanted to be one. I would have said I was in love with Jesus, loved God and loved people.
"Church" was a concept that was hazy to me. In fact, let's just not go there... Go, or don't, but whose business is that anyway?
I was thinking this morning as I was in the shower, "Okay... what have I learned? What has changed? How have I changed... And how can I be 27 years old and still getting soap in my eyes, seriously?"
I thought about church. How passionate I was to serve and be a very small part of a very big church in Atlanta.
Coming here, however, I was very messy. I had all the ducks in a row as far as some could see, but inside... oh man. If you are a fan of Picasso, I'd be your girl.
And guess what, I still am. STILL oh so messy! In fact, a dear friend sent this link to me yesterday, saying I would probably appreciate it. Yup.
So... back to shower.... soap in eyes... trickle of water coming out of the shower head.... changing from ice to steam within seconds... my two hands turning both hot and cold knobs to unlock the secret code to warm... Church, right.
And I thought... Church. I want to be a part of a church when I go back.... Who am I? Who is this girl?
You see... about ten years ago, I sat my father down at a T.G.I.Fridays table (or was it Chili's?... all the same) and told him I was not a Christian and thought he should know.
It wasn't the God thing or even the Jesus factor.
It was the church.
I thought: church = Christian
And you see... church is messy!
(wait... you think so too?! You already knew that?!)
For me, I didn't want to be a part of that. I wouldn't fit in, or it wouldn't fit in exactly to my code of conduct, or I would just be surrounded by hypocrites, or worse, I would be one myself... No, I'd rather live my messy life alone where I can love God and love people and eventually come to realize that Jesus was both of those. Can I get an amen?
Right... But let's get down to the gritty... God LOVES his church... in fact so much so he wanted to marry it (remember those childhood days when you'd say, "well if you like it so much, why don't you marry it?" HA! He did!!!)
So... If church is messy... and God LOVES his church... so much so that he married it.... that's me.
And that's you.
So I wondered... why do we stay away?
Why do we choose to not go there? not be a part? not see it for what it is?
How can we claim to love God, love people, and even love Christ, but not join in the marriage?
I had this mental image of FroYo (totally cool, hipster slang for 'frozen yogurt', because let's be honest, 'frozen yogurt' just sounds like a healthy knock-off of the good stuff).
Nowadays, all over the world, you can go into a FroYo joint and test 8-15 different flavors of the creamy goodness you can claim as healthy before deciding on AS MUCH AS YOU WANT! Granted, you pay for what you take... but the test is free!
That's how I think we've come to view church. We'll take the free and get our fill, but when it comes to actually making the commitment to joining hands with the cup and making an offering... we're hesitant.
You can get your fill on all the free blessings, but you're missing out on the special toppings.
My point is this: Church is the body of Christ... people. And we're all messy. And we are all loved.
And as my man James says so clearly: We are the only ones that are causing the division among us.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? - James 4:1
Let your roots be in Christ.
Let your core be thankfulness.
And let your fruit grow and be shared to spread the seed.
And let us pour generously into the cup that has already been paid for us.