Monday, February 8, 2010

Today's Letter is the Letter "C"

Remember watching Sesame Street growing up? Every day there was a new letter to learn and lots of words that begin with that letter to go along with it. There are many words that begin with the letter "C" and this morning I'm thinking about a few in particular.

Yesterday I went to church - there's one - C-H-U-R-C-H! It begins with a "C". The place where I call "church" at the moment is a primary school gym in doesn't look like a "church" (at least what I experienced and believed to be a "church" in my early years of life)...but, I can tell you...the "CHURCH" is alive and well and being who they are as they gather together there. And I love being one of the "church".

For many (and sadly most likely most) people I know, church (I'm going to stop using quotation marks now and switch to italics) happens on a Sunday morning in a building called a church, in a time frame called church, with a group of people called the church. Wow, we interchange that word a lot. But what is it really? The true meaning of the word is "assembly" and specifically "the assembly of the redeemed."

I experienced church yesterday...I like that better...yes, that makes much more sense. You see, a bunch of the "redeemed" came together in a school gym and when we did, church happened. We laughed, we cried, we danced, we worshipped, we listened, we rejoiced, we mourned...all of us made up the "we" and the "we" was THE CHURCH. It's a regular thing that after the church gathers at the gym, the church moves to the coffee place (yet another GREAT "C" word). I particularly like this "movement" of the church. We drink coffee as we chat about life; about the weather, politics (definitely not my favorite topic), the happenings of our week, etc. There is always good "conversation" and the experience of "community". These are my other two "C" words of the day. And to illustrate both of these words far better than my own diatribe, let me tell you about yesterday's gathering.

Once we all settled around the tables with our coffee, it turned out at my table there were seven women, some who come regularly, a couple who come sometimes, and one whom I had just met earlier that morning. This lovely lady was a delight from the moment we began chatting. She shared with us about her dream to return to her home country of St. Vincent and to give back to the people there from what God has given her. Out of this beginning grew a glorious, miraculous conversation about Jesus and about her struggle to know just how much He loves her based upon nothing but His delight in her. She has spent most of her "Christian" life comparing herself to others and the way they know and express their relationship with Him. Through her tears she told us of how guilty and unacceptable she feels and even that she struggles with believing God loves someone else more than He loves her. I'm telling happened in the moments that ensued.

Conversations of the Church at the coffee shop

One by one, each of us sitting at the table began to share our own journeys, our personal struggles, and our moments of revelation that transformed our understanding of God's love for us. Several times in the conversation this delightful lady would almost shout, "REALLY? Is that true?" in response to the freeing words we were speaking to her about her belovedness and acceptableness in and from Jesus. She told us in the end that she felt lighter...a burden was lifted. It was wonderful. It was miraculous. It was a grand expression of the community of the church expressed in glorious conversation over a delicious cuppa coffee. Now that's a lot of "C" words...and when we left our gathering, I think all of us knew we had encountered the one "C" word who makes Life abundant - Christ had been amongst us and had made these words (and really just Himself) real in our experience. Cool (ooh, another good "C" word)!

You want to know what was really amazing about all of this? None of us meant for it to happen. No one planned a meeting, organized a schedule, picked out worship songs, called a preacher to give a sermon, convened a prayer ministry team, or made sure there were greeters at the door...we just were the church. Now, none of those things above are bad or need to be thrown out the door...but what we often forget is that we are His body...the Glorious Children of Abba...the redeemed of the Lord...a Chosen and Royal Priesthood...the very Bride of Christ...THE CHURCH. And wherever two or more are gathered, Church is real!

For me, today, I'm thrilled about
learning again my "C" words.


  1. Love this! This is what I am looking for everywhere; connecting with others and sharing from the heart!

  2. REALLY...REALLY GOOD!!!! Thanks for sharing your miracle with us. We love you! Herb

  3. No value can be placed on is invaluable; relationships are priceless and when born of a love of and desire for Jesus, it becomes so natural and special and lovely, that nothing can compare. I am continually humbled and honored to be part of a wonderful community that grows daily....and as a result desire for all to experience it. Learned alot of it from you, Laurie.... I think the "church" at the coffeeshop was probably lit up with Life. Love you! Lauren

  4. Hey Laurie,
    Good stuff...I love the simplicity of thinking about letters and words to gain revelation. I can't wait to be a part of the community there! See you next week!
    Love to you all,

  5. Laurie this was just such a blessing to me. I obviously sat at the "wrong" table that day (kidding). This is awesome and I always knew my kids had it all figured out when they begged me to take them to "the coffee shop" - hot and sweaty as it may be, it's where "church" happens. Defined as community having coffee creating cool christian conversations catching the coordinates where everybody's at and counting on each other to come up with criteria for how much we communicate our love for each other and where the controls of everyday stupid stuff have been counted out....
    Thanks Laurie...