I have been thinking about buildings, church buildings in particular, this week. I listened to a piece on NPR about how Mormonism is going mainstream in our country, as evidenced in Boston. Among the proofs of this process is the fact that a congregation is in the midst of constructing a cathedral like building.
I spoke with a colleague this week about the space they use for worship, and listened to him talk about their dream to someday have their own space.
I think about our own church family, in which we are spread across three spaces: two churches and one high school. I remember the stories that have been shared with about the days in the 1980s and 1990s when Town Point was building their new church building, and how much energy and excitement there was among church folks and community members in building the new space. People get energized about building a church building together.
It occurs to me that church is not supposed to have very much to do with buildings. It is supposed to be about relationship... relationship with God in Jesus Christ, relationship with others, reaching out in relationship with more hurting, broken people. We sing a song that says "I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together. All who follow Jesus, all around the world, yes we're the church together. The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is a people..."
Here is what I think: buildings are much easier to control and manage than relationships. Relationships with God and everyone else...they're messy, unpredictable, and have great capactiy for the full range of emotions from joy to sorrow from solidarity to loneliness. Being in relationships is like riding a roller coaster. Or as Forest Gump says, "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." That is true of relationships.
This all feels especially relevant to me as I prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth.