I've been thinking a lot about the comment that Jason Zahariades made in his paper, "Detoxing from Church." He says, "This may sound harsh, but in order to BE the church, we need to LEAVE the church."
At first glance, this is extremely offensive. Doesn't Jesus tell us that we need to become part of the Body of Christ? Yes, he does. But, he doesn't tell us that in order to follow him, we need to follow the religious structure of the day. In fact, this is the very thing that he came to confront. The Pharisees were keeping people so busy following their rules (they had over 400 just for the Sabbath alone) that the people didn't experience the relationship with God, the very reason for which they were created.
God came to earth to pursue us. He wants to know us, and wants us to know him. The only way to do this is through relationship, both with him and with one another. I don't think that we can truly experience earthly relationships the way that he intends for us unless we first experience relationship with God.
We know that all relationships take time. They can't be microwaved--they need to bake in the oven, so that we smell the sweet aroma of baking bread and are filled through experiencing it.
So, when we remove ourselves from the constant busyness of life in church, what is left?
What do we do to move toward God?
Part of the answer involves finding out what thrills us, and awakens our heart.
Is it being out on a boat on a sunny day?
Is it having a Starbucks coffee with a friend?
Is it working in our Garden, experiencing the joy of seeing the beauty of nature come forth (this is easy to do in Seattle).
Is it playing with children and seeing the world through their eyes?
Perhaps it is opening the Bible and letting the Creators' Words speak to us.
Perhaps it is enjoying the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit sweep across our face.
Perhaps it is going to serve in a homeless shelter, offering ourselves for the sake of others.
Whatever it is, let's find it.
Let's find those ways to reconnect, or connect for the first time, with the One who Created us, and who adores us.
Let's find ways to understand what it is to BE the church, through first finding a way to know the One who created the Church.