One Wednesday afternoon in May, as the school children were leaving the church after their fortnightly service, I noticed a man and woman waiting patiently in the entrance hall to come in. When I went over to speak to them, they told me they were visiting every place in Essex in alphabetical order – they had just reached the letter “T” – and they asked if they could come in and take some photos. They thought St Luke’s was delightful, especially the windows at the east end, but what had thrilled them most was arriving to find the church full of
children all singing. They hadn’t minded a bit having to wait to come in because they could see the church was alive.
Our church buildings are beautiful places, set aside for the worship of God and as places of prayer. But they only really come to life when we are there, worshipping, praying, sharing in the life of the community together. For “the church” is really another name for the people of God and it describes who we are and what we do when we come together, both of which are more important than where we meet. So we can still be the church when we meet in a village hall, on a farm, or in someone’s home. We are being the church whenever we are out in the community acting as disciples of Christ, showing our care and concern for others in words and actions that speak of God’s love. We come together in the church building on a Sunday so that we can be sent out into the world the rest of the week. Our weekly worship should refresh, sustain and resource us as we do God’s work in the places we go to throughout the week. We come to church so that we can be the church.
May God refresh and enrich you as you meet with others to worship and pray, and may he work in and through you as he sends you out to do his work in every place that you visit.