The church is not a building.
I’ve always loved this concept. The church is not a building, rather, it’s a community of Christ followers. However, I came to the realization yesterday that the only place I’ve ever heard this concept discussed, is at church. The building. The sanctuary. In the pew. The irony of that fact hit me hard.
I was at college.
I attend a public community college. I wasn’t in chapel or in a theology class.
God moves everywhere. The bible study at my school, Ignite Fellowship, meets multiple times during the week. I haven’t been able to attend often because of a wacky schedule.
By God’s grace I was able to attend yesterday. It was beautiful. We met in a study room. Put our bibles on the conference tables in front of us.We sang a few worship songs and after that, we shared communion. We borrowed a small table and set it up in front of the small room and covered it with a table-cloth. A plate and goblet were set out.
In that moment, I had a revelation. When Jesus communed with his disciples as they were partaking in the Last Supper, they weren’t in a church building. No ordained pastor officiated it. I doubt anyone was dressed in their church clothes.
The last supper wasn’t pretty. I imagine the filthy dirt floors and Jesus and his devoted followers sitting around. I’m sure they were weary from going everywhere on foot. A steak dinner surely would have been accepted without a word. Nonetheless all that sat before them was a loaf of bread and some cheap wine. These twelve men had been everywhere with Jesus. And yet their going away party was anything from glamorous. In fact, right off the bat, Jesus puts forth a disclaimer: “one of you is going to betray me.” (John 13:21).
Their meeting was somber. Tears were shed. I’m sure some felt a sense of abandonment and definitely confusion.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Why do we create limitations? The church was a body of believers long before it was a building. Jesus is the head of the church, not a building. If we forget the people part,we forget Jesus’s heart. He loved people.
I find it hard to see how the true gospel will effectively be shared if we (if I) don’t live the gospel.
If we try harder to envision Jesus’s last supper, maybe then we will fully understand how important it is.
Watch out, the church is leaving the building.