Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Resurrecting Church

“ that moment we decided to stop complaining about the church we saw, and set our hearts on becoming the church we dreamed of.” (Irresistible Revolution, Chapter 2, p.64)

When I lived in Cape Town I was part of a group of friends who spent every Wednesday in the company of homeless people living in the city centre. It started as a failed attempt to “plant” a church for the young and rich living in the city, but it ended up as something very meaningful and life changing. We called ourselves: Street People Church. There I saw a glimpse of what Shane and his student friends saw while living life in an abandoned Catholic Church with homeless people who found their refuge there.

The church I dream of.

Somewhere down the line I have lost that dream; a place where anyone is always welcome, a way of life that creates deep friendships out of an honest interdependent community living.

But recently this dream started to flicker, just a tiny little light. I am actually too scared to say it out loud in fear that I might blow it out.

Two nights ago my wife and I came home from a weekend away. It was late and the gate of the church (we live on the premises) was closed. We waited for 20 minutes before the security opened the gate. While waited (very impatiently) I had this feeling of standing outside a building called church, but that being church is something completely different. The dream and the reality is far removed.

But then I hear the stories Shane tells of life in the so-called Badlands of Philly, or my friend and his brother in law who are helping people living in poverty to start their own veggie gardens, or my wife who spends extra time each night to help a little girl with her homework, or the brother I came across cleaning the men’s restrooms at the airport; at the door he greets everyone coming in for a pee or a poop with the words: “Welcome to my office”, classic!

Suddenly the dream is not that far away...


Wonder altyd ... said...

Can't wait to read Shane's book. In the meantime, your writings are profound. Ek hou van wat jy oor jouself se in jou profile - klink baie soos ek en my boyfriend - ons "rebelle" is maar dun gesaai ... :)

Anonymous said...

I came across your post via Google. I'm glad I did. I've been thinking a lot lately about being church in ordinary life and your story here resonates with that. (I especially like the restroom cleaner: classic indeed!)

Thank you for sharing. I am encouraged.

April T. said...

Because I was raised outside the church, I guess I always assumed that church was up to me. My husband and I started a senior ministry and bring services to senior facilities. It is the most real that church has been--and possibly could be for me. Maybe Christ didn't want church to be in a place, but instead in a heart.