This summer has been interesting for a lack of a better word. On June 22, 2019, while sitting at the dinner table with my three sisters and Mom, we got one of those phone calls you never imagine getting. It was my uncle calling to let us know that my Dad was being admitted to the ER. For the last two months, there was ICU, six surgeries, multiple hospital waiting rooms, and not going to church.
That’s right, not much going to church. I found myself on trips from Florida to Georgia, back home to Texas for two days, and then back Georgia where my Dad was in ICU. It was rather chaotic in the beginning, we even slept somewhere different six nights in a row, and I just didn’t have time to go to church.
It’s not a building
Honestly, I have no problem missing church. I love church. I love seeing my friends that are more like family than just friends. Corporately worshiping in the presence of God is amazing and so much different that my times of worship alone with God. But going to church doesn’t make Jesus love me more. Going to church doesn’t make me right before God anymore than standing in a garage would make me a car!
We find the biblical model for church in Acts 2. Jesus had just ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit as to be the Helper. Act 2:42-47 paints a picture of what the early church looked like, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
They had church in the temple and in their homes. The church wasn’t a building, it was the people of God carrying the message of God.
The day I finally made it to church…
My Dad had just woken up from being sedated for a week and a half. He was finally able to look at us and talk to us. It was a happy time and an emotional time on so many different levels. I had stopped by Office Depot to pick up some pictures I had printed off of our family and the grandkids to hang in Dad’s room. As I got out of my car, this man was walking by me to get in his car to leave the store.
As he passed me, I could tell he knew God because I could feel the presence of God he was carrying. I wasn’t planning on saying anything, but he looked up and said hello. I returned the greeting and then asked if he was a believer. He confirmed that he was. Then he asked if I’d been to a service this morning. I shared that I was in town because my Dad is in ICU and without asking he immediately started praying for my Dad and family. It was a powerful moment!
So did I did I make it to church? Yes, yes I did. I went to church in the parking lot at Office Depot. A routine trip to pictures to hang in my Dad’s hospital room turned into church. It was one of the best services of my life!
Remember, the church is not a building! The church is you and I carrying God’s presence and sharing it with others wherever we go…even Office Depot parking lots!
We are the church! Wherever we go, there we are. Be encouraged and be the church for someone today!