I try to be careful about how I use words. What we say, especially over a long period of time, can describe how we think and even who we are. One of the ways I've tried to correct myself is to stop saying "I'm going to church." I started teaching this as a lesson to our children when they were young. We do not GO to church. We go to a particular building at a certain time during the week. Rather, we ARE the church GOING. Wherever we are and in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we are the Body of Christ. We don't go. We are.
But I sense that some days I experience or participate in church in some special places and unusual ways. A few weeks ago I was in the church building for worship at 11:00 on Sunday morning. We did all the usual things - sing, pray, read scripture, have a sermon, have fellowship after the benediction. It was a good time. But it didn't stop there. I participated in church again shortly after I left that building.
I went downtown and joined with some others at a couple of eating establishments that were located close to each other in proximity. The proprietors of these eateries had invited folk from the local homeless shelter to come into their establishments and have a good Sunday meal at no charge. They were seated at tables, waited on by waiters, and fed a good meal. Some of the remarks afterwards were, "This was great. Such a good meal. We didn't feel like outcasts. We were treated as humans and not as one lesser than." Good food. Conversation around the table. Laughter. I was in church.
Later that week I participated in church again. I went to my favorite waffle shop. (I seem to have a thing about church happening where food is served). I ordered my usual - two eggs over medium, sausage, biscuits and gravy. There are three waitresses there who wait on me regularly. They call me "Honey," "Sweetheart," .....well, you get the picture. (That used to bother me. It doesn't much any more, especially with these three).
Several months ago when one of them asked me how I was, I found myself relating the story of our daughter giving birth two months early. Little Emma only weighed a little over two pounds. The waitress immediately said, "I will pray for your family." Now when I go in all the wait staff take turns asking me about my granddaughter, my daughter, and the rest of my family. They still tell me they pray for me. And you know what.....I believe they do. I have participated in church.
No, church is not something you attend. Church just happens. And, trust me, it can make a difference.