I have debated over and over as to whether or not I would make this post. I was worried I might offend people; and that still may be the case, but I may also encourage a few people as well!
Some of you who know me in person have probably heard me share this little analogy. A good friend of mine told me that he really liked it and that I should write it on this blog. I think that was probably a month or two ago, better late than never.
I have been thinking a lot about church lately. More so now that I work on Sundays and am unable to attend a church service. It has gotten me thinking a lot about spiritual community and how we do it. Mostly I spend a lot of time wondering if we’ve complicated how we do church. Mostly I wonder if there is a simpler way to do it. I am not alone in these thoughts. I have some friends who are journeying on the same questions. Jesus has been gracious in blessing me with a desire to pursue something a little more holistic and simple and a large part of my journey over the last few months has sort of stemmed from the following analogy. It isn’t perfect, but I think it works.
Church can sometimes be like a sea park. You take a killer whale out of the ocean and you put it in the sea park and you teach it to do tricks. You take care of it, you feed it, you love it, and you bring the grandeur of nature to people. Only it’s domesticated. People know they aren’t getting the real thing. Nobody watches a Killer Whale do a flip and immediately assume they are seeing the unbridled, raw, beautiful, fury of marine life. People know they aren’t getting the real thing. There is a reason why boat tours are so popular. There is a reason why BBC can sink so much money into amazing documentaries like Blue Planet and Frozen Planet. People want to see nature raw, wild and untamed. Undomesticated. The real deal. The great calling of mankind isn’t one of domestication, it is one of restoration. The great purpose of a killer whale is not to be domesticated but to draw glory to God in all that it is, where it is, as it anticipates the complete restoration of all creation.
Such is the call and purpose of mankind. To draw glory to God in all that we are, where we are at, in anticipation of that complete, and beautiful return to perfect design. We aren’t called to the sea park to perform in a way that only works in the sea park. It isn’t natural and it isn’t fooling anyone. Congregating shouldn’t really be about improving how we congregate, but why we congregate. I’ve talked with a few friends. More people seem to be less interested in improving the manner in which we meet, but having our meeting speak into ever single realm of our life. I will speak only for myself here, but I am interested in seeing how the Gospel speaks into my relationships, my finances, my work, my leisure. etc. It doesn’t need to be hard. I want to meet with other people who are trying to figure out the same things and I want to share our experience and encouragement with one another. I want that encouragement to become other people’s encouragement. I don’t want to be domesticated. I want to be restored. I want to be all that I was made to be where I am, right now, with the people I am with.
I’ve been going through a book of the bible called Romans. In the past I have felt like this book was always to heavy to warrant my reading it. Lately, I have experienced an incredible amount of peace as I learn that true worship is in sacrificial living. That is to say, I truly honour God when my heart doesn’t just beat for myself, but for others. I want to love genuinely, deeply, and freely. I want to continue to learn how to do that better. I told a friend this earlier, “It’s pretty cool how Jesus can use a desire to want to grow and be with people to illustrate his grace and love.” I am pretty stoked about all the people I get to share my life with, and who have been awesome enough to share their life with me!