As I think ahead to our conversation for our Sunday Night Gathering and the conversation that will inevitably unfold so many things come to mind. Questions… why on earth do we do what we do when it comes to church? How is it that Christians place so much significance on this same way of gathering in worship centers and sanctuaries… when it seems to be so vastly different than what someone from outside the church feels comfortable with?
We face the front… we stare at the backs of heads in front of us. We are forced to listen… to usually two people with microphones, the pastor and the worship leader. We don’t get much freedom to talk… except on cue, when we are singing, reading liturgy, or when they tell us to say hi to the person next to us. Do we ever get to ask questions? Maybe in our own heads… but how could we disagree with the person with the mic? After all, he (usually a he) has been to seminary and maybe even has a doctorate. Stages, lights, microphones, pews, rows, big screens… what does it all mean and why is it so significant?
I wonder what we think worship is… what community is… what teaching is… if this is mostly all that we know. So is this space sacred, or is it just the place where we get our weekly fill of “the gospel” or “the word?”
Our Sunday night Gathering has been meeting in my house for the last six months. Before that, we were at church in different places, trying to figure a way of feeling at home. Church was too sterile and too big for us. It wasn’t OUR
space. The house worked for a while… but now it is too small. And it is MY space, not the community’s. There has been some contention as to whether we should move into another house… but again I say, it is not OUR
space. I am deeply passionate about moving into a space that we can feel the freedom and vision to expand
into… that we can create.
I have begun to see that if we cannot find the sacredness in the normal, the common, most of our attempts to experience God in the spectacular are close to fabricated. There is something about gathering together in a place that is common… yet in its normal-ness… becomes sacred. I think to Genesis 28, where Jacob dreams that he sees a ladder extending into the heavens and messengers from God ascend and descend. His conclusion is that this place is “AWESOME!!” and that God truly was there… and he didn’t know it. He creates a memorial there… not out of anything spectacular, but out of the stone that he used for his pillow.
So my question for anyone who wants to dialog is this: What is | was YOUR Space? What is the space where the magic happens or the energy is felt? And does it matter how we create the space we gather in as community?