Sunday, November 1, 2009

Eye 2 Eye: When Church is Not Church

By Bishop Charles Scott
She forgot what she came for. She had left behind her valued possession. She was running faster and faster and could not contain her emotions. She felt a dry thirst in her mouth but an eternal satisfaction in her soul. She had just met Him, and she had to tell others about Him. She had but one simple message, “Come see a man . . . is not this the Christ?” She was not in church, but she was having church.

She released the aroma of the pungent perfume until it filled the air. She broke the box and released the fragrance until every drop of the atmosphere was drenched in the odor. She did not care that she was being criticized for her extreme worship. She refused to stop with the precious ointment; she continued the lavish expression of praise by wiping His feet with her hair. She was not in church, but she was having church.

He felt no pain for the first time in years. He could see the scars from the cuts and bruises, but he knew he was healed. He did not want to leave Him. He wanted to stay with Him forever. He was a little afraid of the future, but he knew he was free from the past. He had a long trip ahead, but at least his mind was clear, his spirit was free and his soul had peace. He began to compose how to tell others what had happened. He had been bound for so long. He had hurt for so long. He had been alone for so long. He knew he could not wait until he reached his home; he had to tell someone, anyone and everyone what He had done for him. He was not in church, but he was having church.

He fell among the flopping fish. He could not believe what he had seen. He saw the empty net suddenly become full. He felt the cool water begin to fill the boat, but he knelt anyway. He had to get it out. He had to say it. He had to confess, “I am a sinful man.” He was being reborn. He was finding a new life. He was accepting his destiny. He was not in church, but he was having church.

We have a hard time with it. We struggle to accept it. We try, but once we have been in church, it seems like church ought to be church. We get used to the natural and miss the supernatural. We get used to the method and forget the message. We get used to system and miss the Spirit. We know how to talk inside the church; we know how to act inside the church; we know how to fulfill Christian expectations in the church; but when will we start being the Church when we are not in the church?

We need to be the Church. We need to be absolute—there is only one true way to eternal life and His name is Jesus Christ. We need to be global—there is a world around us dying for the message we hear and take for granted. We need to be connected—there is one validation that we are children of God and that is that we display love one for another. We need to be relevant—there is a cry for hope in this generation: the hope we have when we declare Christ is in us, the hope of Glory. We need to be the Pentecostal Church of God: a Church that is the Church even when we are not in church.

Not long ago our family walked down one of the most notable intersections in America. As thousands of people passed by, two men and one woman stood on the corners preaching, witnessing and distributing tracts with a fervent passion proclaiming the gospel. Their efforts did not seem to make much difference to the hustle and bustle of the city. But they were there. They were not in the church, but they were having church. Maybe it’s time for us to connect as the Church when we are not in the church. Maybe it’s time for us to be absolute as the Church when we are not in the church. Maybe it’s time for us to be global as the Church when we are not in the church. Maybe it’s time to be relevant as the Church when we are not in the church. Maybe we can see this eye to eye, even if we are not in church.

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